Uganda: The Immortal Killers

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August 29, 2010:  While the army managed to drive the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) out of the country with their 2002-8 "Iron Fist" operation, and resettle over a million Ugandans living in refugee camps in northern Uganda, the LRA still exists. Often down to less than 200 gunmen, the LRA has wandered through Congo, Sudan and the CAR (Central African Republic), living off the rural population. It's believed that in the last year the LRA has killed over 1,500 people and kidnapped over 500 as part of their survival strategy. Children are indoctrinated to become LRA fighters, while adults are used as slaves. It's also believed that Sudan is providing some support to keep the LRA functioning. In other words, Sudan is hedging its bet. The Government of South Sudan (GOSS), the semi-autonomous state within Sudan, could become independent in 2011, and the LRA would be a tool for the north to disrupt the south.

Some 1,700 soldiers are undergoing three months training before they are sent to Somalia at the end of the year. These two battalions are part of the normal rotation of new forces to replace Ugandan soldiers already there. Meanwhile, an additional 4,000 troops (from Uganda, Djibouti and Guinea) are to increase the AU (African Union) peacekeeping force in Somalia from 6,000 to 10,000.

As Ugandan police continue searching for Islamic terrorists, they are finding that local criminal gangs were willing to do business with groups like al Shabaab or al Qaeda. If the money was good enough, the gangsters would provide goods (weapons, explosives and such) and services (transportation, fake ID, hideouts). Apparently many Ugandan gangsters didn't get the word that doing business is not worth the trouble. The extra police attention usually discourages criminals from helping terrorists. But the corruption in Uganda (and most of Africa) is such that even during a terrorism investigation, the police can be paid to go away and look elsewhere.

Over 30 people have been charged as suspects in the July 11 terror attack. They included Ugandans, Kenyans and Somalis. But the confessed leaders appear to be Ugandan Moslems, who joined al Shabaab out of despair (from personal problems) or a desire to "defend Islam" (usually from Americans, who are seen as the cause of all the world's problems). The suspects are not a very inspiring crew, but they had enough ability between them to obtain the explosives, make the explosive vests and detonators, then recruit and train the suicide bombers, and get them to three of the four targets. Many of those arrested only regret that they killed Ugandans, rather than Americans. One of the plotters inadvertently killed his own aunt. Al Shabaab has called for its followers worldwide to carry out more attacks, but because of the July carnage in Uganda, al Shabaab membership, or any connection with the group, is much more likely to get you arrested. This has caused many wannabe Islamic terrorists, or al Shabaab supporters, to back off.

July 31, 2010: Three Kenyans, who all confessed, where charged with participating in the July 11 terror attacks.

July 29, 2010:  There are increasing attacks on villages along the Congo border. The attackers are apparently from Congolese Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels. The ADF militia has been pushed towards the Ugandan border by months of Congolese Army offensive operations. They are attacking Ugandan villages for food, and would cross the border and establish camps were it not for the heavy patrolling of the border area by the Ugandan military.

 

 

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