[Dehai-WN] Newvision.co.ug: Uganda will not interfere in Somalia politics ? Museveni

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Aug 26 2011 - 06:45:57 EDT

Uganda will not interfere in Somalia politics – Museveni

By Vision Reporter

Friday, 26th August, 2011

UGANDA will not take sides in Somali politics, but will contribute to the
pacification of the country leading to democratic elections, President
Yoweri Museveni has said.

He was speaking to Opio Oloya, a New Vision columnist based in Canada, over
the weekend.

President Museveni said the UPDF peace-keepers battling al-Shabaab elements
in the Somali capital of Mogadishu, were protecting the African Union (AU)

He clarified that UPDF’s response to the al-Shabaab attacks on the African
Union troops, does not mean that Uganda is siding with one of the groups in

Ugandan and Burundian troops make up the 9,000-strong AU force protecting
the embattled Somali government.

“We are not targeting al-Shabaab because we have taken sides. They refused
to respect the AU flag and attacked our soldiers,” Museveni said.

He stressed the importance of allowing the parties involved in the Somali
peace process if lasting peace is to be achieved.

“Siding with one group against another will be counter-productive in
Somalia,” he added. He, however, noted that all the parties must respect the
AU flag.

According to a release from State House, Museveni explained that it was
possible to pacify the whole country with more troops and resources.

He reported that Uganda was willing to make additional contributions if the
AU made requests.

The President pointed out that to make more progress, there was need for air
support to boost the mobility of the ground troops.

Museveni dispelled fears that Uganda wants to impose a puppet regime in

“We don’t want to impose leadership on the people of Somalia. Our
involvement is based on our Pan African principles where we believe that
Africans should help each other to overcome problems. Anybody who wants to
impose a leadership on the people of Somalia will fail,” he said.

“We must respect the sovereignty of the Somali people and their government.
Even when we have a suggestion to make to the interim government, we make it
as a suggestion which can be considered or rejected,” the President added.

Museveni observed that earlier attempts to pacify Somalia failed because the
parties involved wanted to take sides. “You cannot be a peacemaker and take
sides,” he explained.

Museveni said al-Shabaab should discard their fundamentalism and leave the
people of Somalia to enjoy their freedom.

The President said he had been informed that some of the shops left closed
in the liberated areas of Mogadishu belong to al-Shabaab militants.

He said if the militants want to continue being businessmen, they were free
to re-open their businesses.

On fears that adding more troops from other countries would create trouble
in Somalia, President Museveni said measures would be taken to ensure good
working relations.


Ugandans leading al-Shabaab Thursday, 25th August, 2011

By Pascal Kwesiga

SOME commanders of the al-Shabaab militants fighting to overthrow the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia are Ugandans, the UPDF
spokesperson, Lt Col. Felix Kulayigye, has said.

The revelation comes a few weeks after the AMISOM peacekeepers and TFG
forces captured Mogadishu from the al-Shabaab group. The al-Shabaab is
formally a military wing of the deposed Islamic Court Union that controlled
central and southern Somalia in 2006.

Kulayigye told heads of diplomatic missions and religious leaders from
Africa that the militants commanding al-Shabaab were not Somalis, but
Ugandans, Pakistanis and others from Arab countries.

This, he said, had complicated the conflict that had been raving since the
fall of Siad Barre’s government in 1991.

Kulayigye was speaking during a conference organised by a united religions
initiative at Hotel Africana in Kampala on Tuesday.

Ugandan and Burundian troops make up the 9,000 strong AU peacekeeping force
protecting the beleaguered government.

Kulayigye blasted some Western countries that he said were calling for early
elections following the relative peace in Mogadishu. He said the political
situation in Somalia was still too volatile for polls.


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