Uganda: No Sex For Soldiers

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December 22, 2011: American special operations troops continue to provide assistance to Ugandan Army (Ugandan Peoples Defense Force, UPDF) units hunting Joseph Kony, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) senior commander. Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on multiple charges of crimes against humanity. The U.S. had previously announced that approximately one hundred American soldiers were assigned to assist the Ugandan Army. Earlier this month the Ugandan government confirmed that it had several units deployed in the Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic (the CAR). Elements of the one-hundred man U.S. force have deployed with the Ugandan units. The government reported that U.S. soldiers are at a Ugandan Army forward operating base at Obo (in the CAR) and at an undisclosed base camp in South Sudan. The U.S. special ops teams are providing communications, intelligence, logistical, and training support.

December 19, 2011: Uganda and South Sudan agreed to create a joint intelligence group to monitor border security. The primary focus will be on the border between Uganda’s Karamoja region and South Sudan. Both nations are concerned about weapons smuggling and cattle raids.

December 15, 2011: Uganda has signed an agreement with several other Central African states to combat rebel organizations operating throughout the region. The International Conference of the Great Lakes (ICGLR), of which Uganda is a member, had been discussing the proposal for several months. Rwanda and Congo were major backers of the agreement. The other ICGLR members are Zambia, Burundi, Sudan, the CAR, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville). The new agreement basically says that member states won’t let their neighbor's rebel groups have sanctuaries in or operate from their national territory. The agreement will be hard to enforce. For example, there are factions within each nation (particularly the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, and the CAR) that are committed to helping their tribal, religious, or political allies in a neighboring country. The governments are too weak to police the factions, in some instances (eg., Sudan) the government’s intelligence agencies are cooperating with rebel forces. However, the agreement is not a wasted effort. Over the last four years there has been a growing political awareness that instability in a neighboring country translates into instability at home. International revulsion at LRA depredations in Congo and the CAR played a role in this change.

December 14, 2011: The military confirmed that the Ugandan Army’s 31st Battalion is serving as the primary special operations unit involved in the hunt for senior LRA commander Joseph Kony. Elements of the 31st Battalion are openly deployed in the CAR, the Congo, and in South Sudan along the Congo-South Sudan border.

December 10, 2011: It’s that time of year again in Uganda. The security services are warning the public to be cautious during holiday gatherings and particularly large public festivities. The national police reported that there is current intelligence indicating that the Al Shabaab Somali Islamist terrorist group intends to launch attacks during the Christmas and New Years seasons. Holiday shoppers are also threatened. Malls in Kampala and holiday markets in every community (even rural villages) are potential targets. Local police have been instructed to increase their level of vigilance. The Ugandan Army announced that it has put rapid response units on alert in areas throughout the country. Everyone in Uganda remembers the July 2010 terror attacks by al Shabaab.

December 5, 2011: Several non-governmental aid organizations have funded a radio warning system in Central Africa. The system links communities that are threatened by the LRA. The communities can warn one another about LRA movements and provide data on LRA attacks. The information is also available on line at www.lracrisistracker.com . The system links communities in South Sudan, the Congo, the Central African Republic, and Uganda.

December 3, 2011: The government reported that some 2,300 soldiers had completed a four-month long pre-Somalia peacekeeping deployment training course. The soldier will be part of a rotation replacing Ugandan soldiers currently serving in Somalia. French, Belgian, British, and American military trainers participated in the peacekeeping training program.

Meanwhile, Ugandan troops serving with the AMISOM African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia are asking the government to let them take leave on a regular basis to go home to Uganda to have sex. Yes, you read that correctly. Several soldiers apparently appealed to their representatives in parliament. The Ugandan Army (UPDF) has rejected the requests for sex leave. Recently an army spokesman said that the Somali deployment is only for nine months and Ugandan soldiers should exhibit discipline, like US Navy sailors do on extended sea deployments. While Mogadishu has prostitutes, they operate clandestinely they are too vulnerable to terrorist attack is peacekeepers visit.

 

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