Uganda: The War With Sudan

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May 5, 2012: Despite the AU (African Union) and UN-sponsored ceasefire agreement between Sudan and South Sudan, South Sudan’s government is hedging its bets. Ugandan media reported that several South Sudanese officials have asked Uganda for assurances that it would provide military help to South Sudan if the war continues. One South Sudanese state governor asked to Uganda to be prepared for pro-active intervention in South Sudan. South Sudanese are warning Uganda that if Sudan defeats South Sudan the LRA will re-appear, once again backed by the Sudanese government.

May 4, 2012: The government announced that it will deploy another 1,700 soldiers as peacekeepers in Somalia. This reinforcement (approximately two battalion task forces) will bring the total numbers of Ugandan troops in Somalia to around 8,000. The army (Ugandan Peoples Defense Force, UPDF) indicated that the new troops will be assigned to the Mogadishu area in Somalia. Ugandan troops currently deployed in Somalia will likely move into areas where pro-government Somali forces and the Ethiopian Army cleared of Al Shabaab Islamist militias.

May 1, 2012: A UN-assisted coordination center and communications detachment located in the town of Dungu (northeastern Congo) is now helping the African Union (AU) sponsored anti-LRA force coordinate activities and intelligence. The Congolese coordination center will assist Uganda, South Sudanese, and Central African Republic security forces as well as Congolese forces. Congo recently announced that a U.S.-trained light infantry battalion has joined the anti-LRA operation and is operating in the northeastern Congo. UN peacekeeping forces in the Congo stress that their primary mission is protecting Congolese civilians from attack by the LRA.

April 30, 2012: The Ugandan Army accused Sudan of re-arming the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). Ugandan forces fighting the LRA had captured an LRA fighter wearing a Sudanese military uniform. Sudan denied the charges and accused Uganda of lying. Ugandan security officials also stated that intelligence indicates that LRA cadres are moving into Sudan’s western Darfur region, into areas controlled by pro-Sudanese government Janjaweed militias. Ugandan sources have also reported that kidnapped people (abductees) recently rescued from the LRA (presumably in Congo and the Central African Republic) stated that they believed the Sudanese government is providing the LRA with arms and uniforms.

April 24, 2012: The Ugandan Army continues to operate inside the Central African Republic. Operations are conducted from base camps in the CAR located at Djema and Obo. Uganda also uses a camp located at Nzara in South Sudan. Since the U.S. deployed its 100-man special operations team to help locate senior LRA commander Joseph Kony (and brought more media attention), Uganda has been much more open about its military operations in the CAR. The Ugandan Army has now let reporters accompany hunter patrols (also called hunting squads or hunter squads) deployed in the CAR (southeastern CAR). The hunter patrols have no fixed number of personnel but 60 troops (essentially two light infantry platoons) is a common figure. That’s enough to deal with most of the remnant LRA detachments. In order to evade detection the LRA has broken down into small groups (four to ten fighters is the speculation). A 60-soldier detachment can be fairly easily re-supplied by one or two helicopters. At least two hunter patrols are operating in the CAR’s Chinko River area (southeastern CAR). The Chinko River (a tributary of the Congo River) is a sparsely populated area.

April 23, 2012: The U.S. government extended the mission of 100 U.S. special operations soldiers who are assisting Ugandan troops in their hunt for LRA senior commander Joseph Kony.

April 20, 2012: The government said that Ugandan military forces were prepared to intervene in South Sudan to aid South Sudan if Sudanese forces continue to attack the south. Ugandan Army officers are convinced that if Sudan gains control of large chunks of South Sudan, the LRA will move into the Sudanese-occupied territory and renew attacks on northern Uganda. Uganda maintains that the LRA serves as a proxy army for Sudan. Uganda has a small air force, consisting of eight Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 jets. Buying the jet fighters ignited a huge controversy in Uganda. Critics said the planes were over-priced (they probably were) and that Uganda needs other infrastructure (especially transportation infrastructure) and health care before it needs cutting-edge, high-performance aircraft. Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, however, pointed out that you can’t wait for a war to purchase military equipment. Here’s his quote from July 2011, “You don’t wait for war to buy military equipment in security. It’s normally advisable to buy when there is no war.” Uganda does need roads, improved digital communications, and health care. The Sudan-South Sudan War indicates it also needs high performance aircraft. Ugandan officials who backed buying the jets argued that instability in South Sudan (code word for trouble between Sudan and South Sudan) justified having aircraft that could handle potential air threats (ie, Sudanese Air Force MiGs). South Sudan has helicopters and one prop-driven transport aircraft. The Ugandan jets can provide South Sudan with an air defense capability and the Sudan government knows it. The Su-30s are multi-role jet fighter-bombers, capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground (ground attack) missions. Russians have been training Uganda’s pilot corps on the aircraft for at least a year. (Austin Bay)

April 15, 2012: From January to the end of March, LRA fighters launched 53 attacks in the Congo and CAR. Nine civilians were killed in the attacks and an estimated 90 civilians were kidnapped.

March 26, 2012: The AU announced that it is forming a regional force to combat the LRA. The force will have 5,000 soldiers provided by Uganda, Congo, the CAR, and South Sudan. The U.S. and the European Union will pay for the force. A Ugandan colonel will have overall command of the force and the deputy commander will be South Sudanese. A joint coordinating communications center will be established in the Congo (northeastern Congo).

 

 

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