May 1, 2013

Tension as Military High Command Orders Arrest of 700 Deserters

About 45 deserters have been arrested in the areas of Teso, Mbale and Karamoja during the ongoing campaign in the last one month.

Early April, the Army leadership sent a radio message to all division headquarters to arrest forcefully over 700 deserters across the country.

A highly placed source tells Redpepper Online that about 400 soldiers mainly returnees from the African Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) top the list.

He explains that the soldiers returned from the war torn Somalia and were deployed in Karamoja in 2011 but all vanished with a few leaving their rifles behind. He adds that the move to arrest soldiers stems from the alleged Mbuya attack and robberies in Kampala where mostly AMISOM deserters are suspected to be involved.

A middle aged deserter formerly attached to 29th Battalion, now in detention at quarter guard in Moroto barracks tells the reporter that he did not intend to leave the force.

He explains that he earned a lot of money from AMISOM missions and wanted to do something else. He adds that he had not joined UPDF to die but get his expectations. He finally emphasized that wherever you go home is home adding that he would process an official exit from the forces.

Capt. Deo Akiiki, the 3rd Division UPDF spokesperson, when contacted he could neither deny nor confirm the developments. He says it’s true the army has arrested several deserters but yet to ascertain the numbers and their respective deployments. He explains that desertion is a crime in the forces that attracts a heavy penalty. He goes on to say the deserters had become an administrative burden to the army leadership.

So far several arrested deserters from Teso region and Karamoja have been transferred to Mbale. A few in Moroto will be transferred to Gulu soon to face the Unit Disciplinary Courts as the campaign to hunt deserters continues. Over 100 army deserters have already been detained. Many of them belonged to the UPDF 2nd division.

5 thoughts on “Tension as Military High Command Orders Arrest of 700 Deserters

  1. if the government can afford to give amnesty to rebels and even go an extra mile of re instating rebels in the national army then why not give amnesty to army deserters who in one way or another have deserted genuinely with reasons based on low pay, deployment segregation, discrimination, biased promotions and biased official deployment roles and many more reasons that the high command is a ware of that the soldiers on ground experience and the top leadership who receive huge allowances, drive in top of the range air conditioned land cruisers and live in posh houses can not even bring these soldiers together listen to their cry and work out a way forward for them to proudly serve their country rather than serve and only a few people who are seated in Kampala are rewarded at the expense of those on ground. i am saying this from experience because my brother also deserted the army because of un fair treatment.

  2. If the army leadership is serious about this, an inquiry must be instituted and corrective action taken to retain the officers and men. But if there is desertion in the specilaized departments like CMI, ISO, airforce, artilery which are well paid, then truely there is a big problem some where in the system.
    But again I know that such an inquiry will not be welcome because it will expose the rot in our national army.

  3. Surely restructures are needed in UPDF,there is a problem within leadership which is from top to lower section commdrs. We should be able to learn from the enviroment not always to say” this is UPDF”,e.g Gen. Tinye raised his feelings & you turned them political!,people are deserting & nw looking at arrests as a solution- where will u end? There is a prob & u have failed to admit ( Normalcy bias ). Your leadership service is embraced with egoism & illiteracy bt u must admit that current soldiers and young officers are learned. Apply conventional research methods to address some of these issues permanently,get to know the feelings of individual soldiers so as to design ur tactics. people are going to press or like b’se there is no internal communication. For instance how did Afande paddy conclude that its not min pay but misconduct making people desert! This is the normalcy bias i was talking about. Do u know that a big number of Engineers , lawyers & accountants are other Ranks? and how do u expect that man to be promoted when his CO is a certificate or diploma holder( specific case) and promotion is pay rise !instead end up being harassed,abused & the like all time. Convice this person to stay when he is getting 400k & his parents sold pc’s of land whatever to go to school,surely will he listen to you? Am sorry but this reminds of some oposition politicians who were against construction of Entebbe express high way. I believe you brought professionalisation when u didnt know the meaning. If you love Uganda i love Uganda.
    Long live H.E the President of Uganda,
    long live Uganda,
    For God and my country.

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