April 5, 2013

NGOs Protest UPDF CAR Pull-out

A move by the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces to pull troops out of Central African Republic is being protested by non-government organizations back in Kampala.

The organizations led by Invisible Children, famous for their Kony 2012 video, have predicted massive raids and killings in areas that were previously protected by the UPDF forces together with the American marines.

Ben Kessey, the Executive Director of Invisible Children, told journalists at a press conference on Thursday at the NGO’s offices in Bugolobi that a withdrawal of troops from the region will be a breather for warlord Joseph Kony to recruit more rebels and conduct attacks on civilians in the region.

The comments come in the light of a possible withdrawal of all Ugandan forces from the region after the Seleka rebels took over power and annulled the mandate held by the UPDF that was signed with the fallen president Francois Bozize.

Reports from the military show Ugandan forces have been called back to their base camps in Obbo and Djema as they await further commands.

The call from the NGO groups may as well have landed on rocky ground as the UPDF deputy spokesperson Maj. Robert Ngabirano says the army cannot operate without a mandate. He adds, the search for Kony has not ended but a new deal will have to first fall in place to have the UPDF continue operations in the war ravaged country.

However African Union has rejected the Seleka rebel government according to media reports which comes in as another of the fatal blows to having the UPDF get an operational mandate in the embattled country.

While he may not face military raids anytime soon, a 13 billion shillings bounty placed on his head means the elusive LRA leader Joseph Kony will not rest easy.

The war started by Joseph Kony has seen over 450,000 people displaced from Uganda, South Sudan, Democratic republic of Congo and Central African Republic itself.

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