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AU wants 600 Ugandan soldiers to leave Somalia
Friday, August 10, 2012
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Uganda has over deployed in Somalia and as a result, the African Union (AU) has directed that 600 of its men return home.
UPDF chief of land forces Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala told MPs on the defence committee Thursday that the directive came after AU noted that Uganda had exceeded its quota by 600 officers.
“The AU notified us in July that we had overdeployed our soldiers and needed to scale down by 600. These will soon come back home. Some of these will be the most recently deployed Police officers,” he said, adding, “if you see us not deploying anymore yet we have carried out training, please know the reason.”
According to Katumba, Uganda has so far deployed 6,332 officers in Somalia. He explained that AU only endorsed 17,730 officers from all the contributing countries. “The scaling down is also partly due to deployment by Kenya and we are also expecting another from Sierra Leone,” he said.
Katumba and other defence officials led by state minister of defence Maj.Gen. Jeje Odong were appearing before the committee to defend the ministry’s budget estimates.
During the discussion, committee chairman Milton Muwuma asked the officials to brief the committee on the current situation in Somalia.
“We are getting lots of complaints from the Ugandan soldiers in Somalia that part of their money is being deducted yet the work they do is just too much. What does defence do with this money?” Muwuma asked.
The minister explained that prior to the deployment, Uganda signed a memorundum of understanding with the AU to deduct $200 from the officers as administrative costs.
Katumba told the MPs that the situation in Somalia had greatly improved and the country stable, but not yet secure because of the millitias.
Katumba said the council of elders has already passed the constitution and will soon elect members of parliament who will then elect the President.
“The President will be elected by the MPs. Already, a total of 13 presidential candidates have declared their interests,” he said, adding that this would not have been possible had it not been for the intervention of Uganda and other countries.
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