Uganda: Getting Cozy With Congo


January 10, 2008: The army captured eleven armed men belonging to the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel militia across the border in Congo. The eleven were disarmed and turned over to Congolese border guards. FDLR militiamen have frequently crossed the border to attack and loot Ugandan villages for food and other goods.

January 9, 2008: Uganda and the Congo are coordinating plans to expel the LRA's Joseph Kony from his base camp in the eastern Congo. Kony is in the Garamba National Park. To put the Uganda-Congo decision in a political context, the "coordinated expulsion" is designed to pressure Kony into returning to the Juba peace talks.

January 4, 2008: Ugandan business leaders and security personnel have begun complaining about Uganda's "over reliance" on Kenya as a transportation hub and route for supplies. Uganda is landlocked and Kenya's port of Mombasa is economically vital to Uganda. When post-election trouble erupted in Kenya, shipments to Uganda through Kenya were drastically curtailed. Several Ugandan government sources and news media outlets reported that gas stations ran out of gas and air flights (ie, domestic flights in Uganda) were grounded due to lack of aviation fuel. For several years Uganda has contemplated improving its railroads and adding rail connections throughout eastern Africa. A long-term disruption of traffic to Mombasa would damage severely Uganda's economy. Uganda will be looking for other alternatives ? including possible connections through Rwanda to Tanzania. One Ugandan newspaper said that when Kenya sneezes, Uganda catches a cold." Kenya and Uganda have a close relationship, but the violence in Kenya has told Ugandan planners that they cannot take Kenyan stability for granted.

December 31, 2007: The Army announced that it plans to recruit 4,000 new officer cadets and soldiers. In the last 18 months the military has retired 1,600 soldiers. Some of this is normal attrition, but a number of the retirements were part of a program to improve the military's professionalism.

December 28, 2007: The military reported that on November 13 its troops had intercepted a weapons shipment made by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) guerrilla group. Ugandan security personnel captured a motorboat.

December 27, 2007: A group of LRA rebels attacked the town of Duru in the Congo (near the Congo-Sudan border). The LRA rebels looted the several buildings in the town then fled.




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