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Uganda: Oil Field Protection Commandos
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August 27, 2008: The parliament is getting serious about battling government corruption, which is endemic in this part of the world. Two government ministers are under investigation for arranging a land purchase, by the government, of overpriced land owned by one of the ministers. Several million dollars was, in effect, stolen in this deal. The question is, can even parliament make the accusations stick in court. Those accused of stealing from the government have lots of other corrupt officials, including prosecutors and judges, available to help, for a price.

August 26, 2008: The government has reached a deal with the World Bank that will provide almost three million dollars for "demobilizing and resettling" former LRA and ADF guerrillas. The money will help finance the demobilization project that currently involves around 24,000 people (former guerrillas, family members, and some individuals identified as "collaborators"). The project is designed to help reintegrate former rebels into society. This is also a project Uganda can pursue with or without a final peace agreement. As it is, most Ugandans appear to believe any deal reached with the LRA will be broken – most likely by the LRA. A private poll conducted this summer concluded that around 70 percent of Ugandans think the LRA would violate a peace deal. 29 percent think the government would break the deal.

August 24, 2008: An LRA spokesman accused South Sudan of attacking LRA positions near the Congo border. The LRA spokesman said that elements of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA – which is South Sudan's military) launched the attack,

August 21, 2008: And LRQ senior commander Joseph Kony is once again saying he will consider signing a comprehensive peace agreement with Uganda. For the last two weeks mediators in South Sudan have reported that Kony had a new negotiating team. However, the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants remain a big problem for the LRA. An LRA spokesman said that the ICC warrants remain a problem.

August 15, 2008: The army plans on establishing a new "Special Forces" organization. The Ugandan Peoples Defense Force (UPDF) will use elements of the Presidential Guard brigade and the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force as building blocks. Ultimately the Ugandan special forces will have airborne, airmobile, and what one source described as "marine" components. Uganda has no seaport but it has many lakes and rivers. Several of Uganda's most promising oil fields are on or near Lake Albert (Congo border area). In fact, one of the main missions of the new Ugandan special operations units will be protecting "strategic assets" (like oil wells and presumably major airfields).

August 1, 2008: The African Union reported a Ugandan soldier serving with the AU peacekeeping force in Somalia was killed by a "roadside bomb." The soldier was traveling in a six-vehicle convoy outside of Mogadishu's international airport. The Ugandan peacekeeping force is headquartered at the airport. The AU report indicated the bomb was an IED-type (improvised explosive device) as was hidden "in a pile of garbage." Yes, sounds a bit like Iraq. The AU force has around 2600 soldiers. Uganda has 1600 soldiers in Somalia.

 

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