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First infantry division overwhelmed by UPDF veterans on AMISOM call

FILE PHOTO: A Ugandan AMISOM solider.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The veterans’ call-up centre at the first Infantry division based at Kakiri in Wakiso district has enlisted more than the allocated quota of veterans in the just concluded mobilization exercise.

Up to 15 call-up centres were opened up across the country targeting honourably discharged soldiers from the rank of Major and below, with almost 55-years of age and baring no criminal offence. The force is recalling more than 2,700 veterans to back-up soldiers deployed on an African Union Peacekeeping Mission in Somalia.

The First Infantry Division Spokesperson Major Yusuf Bilaali Katamba says that Kakiri, unlike all the other call-up centres, Kakiri recorded an overwhelming turn-up and registered far above its quota of 390 personnel.

He says that although they were considering closing the exercise on the second day upon hitting the target, they received information from other units including but not limited to Masaka, Nakasongola and Moroto, indicating that the turn-up was very poor.

Major Katamba explains that since there was an expected number with the huge numbers that turned up at Kakiri barracks, a decision was taken to have more personnel registered from the Kakiri unit which covers the district of Wakiso, Mityana, Butambala, Mpigi, Gomba, and Mukono among others.

By Thursday evening, more veterans have been arriving at the barracks all yarning to re-serve their country. Katamba attributes the high numbers in Kakiri to the fact that after retirement many soldiers tend to settle near urban areas where they set up business having received their gratitude and pension.

He adds that although the guidelines indicated that they are taking persons below the age of 55, several others who are slightly above the cap, have been examined and deemed to be physically, medically and mentally fit. He, however, adds that these have been chosen as alternates awaiting a final decision taken by higher authorities.

The mobilized veterans will form Uganda Battle Group 31 and 32 to increase UPDF operations under the African Union Mission in Somalia-AMISOM.

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