Ugandan Peace Keepers Sold Guns In Somalia
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni was shocked to
learn from soldiers returning from Somalia peace
operations that their commanders may have sold
guns and bullets in Mogadishu.
Uganda has troops serving in the African Union peace
mission in Somalia (Amisom).
The revelations were made during a meeting at an
army training school in central Uganda last week.
A nervous Museveni chased away all the
commanders from the meeting, except the Chief of
Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, in order to
allow the returning Amisom soldiers to speak out
Some of the soldiers who were in the meeting
revealed how they gave President Museveni
harrowing testimonies after their bosses were out of
He asked the soldiers under Ugabag 10 (Uganda’s
latest returning Amisom contingent) to freely tell
him their experiences in the war-torn Somalia.
The troops were at first hesitant. Realising the
soldiers’ discomfort stemmed from the presence of
their commanders, the president ordered all the
bosses out of the meeting hall.
Immediately the commanders left the hall, the
soldiers opened up.
They told the President vivid details of how they
often fought the Al-Shabaab on battle fronts without
food and when it was provided, it would, on many
occasions, be stale.
Some of the soldiers described their commanders as
‘opposition sympathisers hiding in the army'.
A soldier (names withheld) from air defence,
reportedly told the President that about 60 troops in
his unit were never paid their allowance for
September last year and yet the money was
released, but when they inquired why they had not
been paid, their commanders threatened to send
them back home.
Serving in Somalia is much coveted by soldiers
because it offers much better remuneration.
Soldiers from the 45th Battalion told the President
how they were given rotten or stale rations while
their commanders sold the good food in the market,
forcing them to rely on their counterparts from other
countries for food.
Another soldier (names withheld) reportedly told the
President Museveni how one of the commanders,
now on suspension and under investigations by the
military, used to force him to sign and acknowledge
receipt of fuel even when the delivery trucks were
empty. And that whenever he refused, he was
Our military sources said soldiers poured out their
hearts to the President, saying often, armoured
vehicles were not used in battle, except for public
relations gimmicks in Mogadishu.
They said their commanders did not want to use
battle tanks because they consume a lot of fuel and
this would leave little or no fuel for sale to the
The commanders would requisition fuel for the tanks
but sell it instead.
President Museveni, who had reportedly closed his
eyes while listening to the nerve-wrecking
testimonies of his foot soldiers, opened his eyes wide
when he heard that some of the commanders traded
in guns and bullets with the Somali civilians, who
could even have included agents of Al-Shabaab
militants, who the Amisom were battling in Somalia.
Some soldiers reportedly told the President that they
were tempted not to raise any questions because
they thought Museveni was aware of their suffering
since the commanders were closer to him than the
After listening to the distressing tales from his
troops, the President reportedly apologised, saying
“sorry for everything that happened to you there
[Somalia]. I know it now and I promise I am going to
handle those traitors who tarnished Uganda’s name.”
The President was also reportedly upset that despite
the heavy funding the government gives to
intelligence agencies, they had failed to give him
such vital information.
President Museveni reportedly told his troops that he
had been spending a lot of money on intelligence
“who do nothing and yet there is that good free
information” and that he was surprised some military
officers could even sell guns and bullets.
When contacted for comment about the soldiers’
testimonies to the president, the Defence ministry
spokesman Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, said “I never
attended that meeting and I have not been privy to
what was discussed.”
When informed about some of the allegations, Lt Col
Ankunda said: “Those are serious allegations, I don’t
have a first account of what was discussed.”