Al Jazeera | Uganda threatens Somalia troop withdrawal after UN leaked report accuses it of backing M23 rebels

Posted November 2, 2012 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 4,256 views


Al Jazeera — Uganda has threatened to pull its peacekeeping troops out of Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after a UN report accused it of backing M23 rebels in the central African country. In a statement to parliament, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said on Friday that the UN report carried baseless, unfair and malicious allegations.

The report, released last month, also accused Rwanda, Uganda’s southern neighbour, of supporting M23 rebels, who are based in eastern DRC and take their name after a peace agreement they signed with the Congolese government on March 23, 2009. M23 rebels have been battling Congolese troops since March, seizing towns in fighting that has displaced thousands of civilians.

Mbabazi said Uganda was acting in good faith and sacrificing a lot to bring peace to the region and deserved better understanding from the UN and the region, reported the state-run New Vision newspaper. “We have now decided, after due consultations with our brothers in the AU and the region, to completely withdraw from these regional peace efforts; that is to say DRC, Somalia and others,” Mbabazi said, according to the paper.

Findings ‘absurd’

Asuman Kiyingi, Uganda’s state minister for regional co-operation, said: “We are saying that if these allegations, which are malicious and unfounded, are not withdrawn then we are considering withdrawing not only from Somalia but from all peacekeeping missions we are involved in.” Uganda, along with Burundi, sent peacekeeping troops to Somalia in 2007 under an African Union mandate backed by the UN.

The peacekeepers have been credited with driving the al-Qaeda-linked rebel group al-Shabab from Mogadishu, Somalia’s war-ravaged capital. The UN Security Council’s Group of Experts said in their report that despite their strong denials, Uganda and Rwanda had continued to support M23 rebels in North Kivu province.

The group, who monitor compliance with sanctions and an arms embargo on the DRC, delivered their report to the Security Council’s Congo sanctions committee at the beginning of October. Both Uganda and Rwanda dismissed the allegation, with Okello Oryem, Uganda’s state minister for foreign affairs, saying that the experts’ findings were “rubbish and absurd”.

“Some of those so-called experts came here [to Uganda] and did not interview anyone,” Oryem said. Mbabazi said Uganda, which shares a border with the DRC, got involved with mediating with M23 rebels following a request by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN chief and Joseph Kabila, the president of the DRC.

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

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One Comment

    Geoffrey Karegyeya

    I don’t support withdrawing from our peace missions because that’s our strength in Africa and it has kept us ahead of other African countries as far as regional and global security issues are concerned.Those are diversionary reports. We MUST remain engaged.
    For GOD and my Country.

    Geoffrey Karegyeya

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