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USA pays Uganda to arm Somali fighters

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by ByaseL, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. B

    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jul 9, 2009
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    Tabu Butagira

    Ugandan troops in Mogadishu have been secretly selling guns and ammunition to Somalia’s struggling Transitional Federal Government on behalf of the United States government, Daily Monitor can reveal.

    Explaining American assistance to the TFG during a recent press briefing to US journalists in Washington, D.C., a top US State Department official said Uganda has been supplying arms to Somali troops and picking dollars from Washington.

    “We have gone to the Ugandans when the TFG (Transitional Federal Government) has run short of weapons and ammunition and told the Ugandans to provide what TFG needs,” the official, who was not named in the partly classified June 26 briefing, said.

    “When the Ugandans provide those weapons, they give us a bill and an accounting for what they have turned over [to Somali government] and we then give them the money to replace the stores and the arms.”
    The official said the UPDF has mostly supplied small arms and ammunition and had increased its supplies in May when Somali Islamic extremists increased their attacks on the TFG and government forces.

    The UPDF, which is in Somalia as part of an African Union peacekeeping force to the country, is said to have been paid up to $10 million (Shs21b) for arming and training the TFG fighting force. This is the first time the arms-for-cash deal is being made public and the revelations could mean that the UPDF was violating the neutral terms of its peacekeeping mandate by arming one of the combatants.

    Authorities in Kampala were quick to denounce the revelations as “a lie”. Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala, the commander of the UPDF Land Forces, who has been overseeing the deployment of Ugandan troops to help stabilise Mogadishu, told Daily Monitor that “it is Washington that is giving the arms to Somalia. “The only thing we have done is to be the link to pass those weapons to TFG because the Americans cannot be on the ground to do this themselves.”

    President Museveni told journalists at a press conference earlier this month that it was fine for the US to arm Somalis to fend off a rebel onslaught on the capital. “These people fighting in Somalia are wasting their time,” President Museveni said at the time. “What a democrat should do in Somalia is allow peace and demand elections.” Details of the arms-for-cash deal emerged as the beleaguered Somali President Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Sheriff met Mr Museveni in Kampala.

  2. Nyaralego

    Nyaralego JF-Expert Member

    Jul 9, 2009
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    Why Am I not surprised?!