UPDF-led operation to hunt-down Joseph Kony & remnants of his group has been suspended.
The development has been confirmed by both the U.S mission in Kampala and the UPDF.
The situation in the Central African Republic has not been futile for the hunt of Kony’s LRA rebel group that has terrorist northern Uganda for more than a decade after Seleka rebels overthrew President Francois Bozize’s government last month
Central African Republic Seleka rebels who seized power last month threatened to expel all foreign forces from the Country.
The foreign forces that are in Central African Republic include Uganda’s UPDF, 100 US special forces under AU mission and South African troops that were send by president Jacob Zuma to support President Francois Bozize’s government against the Seleka rebels.
Late last month Uganda said they have plans of keeping its African Union-mandated troops to continue with peace keeping and the hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters in the Central African nation. Ugandan military spokesman Paddy Ankunda said that the army had got orders from the commander-in-chief to continue with operations there but latest developments shows that the UPDF has been ordered out of the Country.
After the Seleka rebels that ousted President Francios Bozize African Union acted quickly and suspended the Central African Republic from the bloc’s activities and imposed sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on seven top officials from the Seleka rebel group saying CAR is not recognized by the pact.
Political Commissar of the Ugandan Army Felix Kuliagye has confirmed the withdrawal. “The African Union was operating in Central Africa under the Bozize government, and since Seleka is not recognized by the African Union we had to suspend operations,” Kulaigye said.
Uganda has more than 3,000 troops under AU force hunting Joseph Kony’s LRA rebels who are believed to be operating in the jungles of Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). AU has a strong force of 5,000 troops backed by 100 U.S. Special Forces that were deployed two years ago to help with intelligence and logistical support in the hunt.
LRA leader Kony who has fought the Ugandan government for nearly two decades before being splashed out from Uganda around 2005 is Wanted by the International Criminal Court to face charges against abducting thousands of children and forcing them to fight in a rebel army and other war crimes.
South Africa which also deployed 200 soldiers to Central Africa in January to support the poorly trained, ill-equipped government troops following an offensive launched by the Seleka rebel coalition in December, said last month that the nation has no immediate plans to pull out its troops from the Central Africa Republic even after 13 soldiers were killed in clashes with rebels at the weekend.
President Jacob Zuma told reporters that the Country has not taken a decision to withdraw its troops from CAR since South Africa rejects any efforts to seize power by force.
“There is no reason for us to leave… we are looking at how to reinforce our forces and how to move forward,” President Zuma said.
The rebels on Sunday seized control of the capital Bangui after launching an offensive following the collapse of a January peace deal, prompting President Francois Bozize to flee.
After capturing power, they (rebels) suspended the constitution and dissolved parliament saying there would be a transition period until “credible and transparent” elections are set
Meanwhile, Uganda has linked CAR Seleka rebels to Sudan saying some leaders from the movement are close to Khartoum government. Col. Kulayigye said “The information we get is that one of them has Sudanese connections,” he said.
The relationship between Uganda and Sudan has continued to be dense after the two countries started accuse each other of supporting rebel groups against their governments.
It is not yet clear when the hunt for Mr. Kony will resume but US and Uganda says the suspension is temporary.