UN delegation meets senior Ugandan military officers in search for peace

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A United Nations (UN) delegation seeking facts on peace and security in the troubled Great Lakes part of Africa was hosted by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force (UPDF) at the weekend.

The mission forms part of the International Conference of the Great Lakes (ICGLR) on peace, security and co-operation framework for Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region.

Delegated were told their visit was a follow-up on a number of consultative meetings between Heads of State and different stakeholders aimed at exploring non-military approaches to compliment military interventions in dealing with negative forces in the region. “The Dar-es-Salaam meeting recommended establishment of a contact and co-ordination group (CCG) to facilitate voluntary surrender, disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, re-integration and resettlement (DDRR/R) of former combatants from negative forces,” said Colonel Julius Mbaine said on behalf of Uganda’s military intelligence chief, Major General James Birungi.

According to him Uganda is establishing a rehabilitation and re-integration Centre in Migyera, Nakasongola District. He called for support toward establishing additional centres in Kasese, Bihanga and Arua as part of the Presidential initiative on Peace, Security and Development.

Colonel Paddy Ankunda, Strategic Communications Director, said Uganda hosts the peace, security and rehabilitation centre in Kasese District. It collaborates with the Rwenzururu Initiative for Social Transformation on receiving, screening and interacting with ex-combatants, as well as reaching out to active ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) and other militant groups in the Rwenzori region of DRC encouraging them to denounce rebellion.

Head of the UN delegation, Coulibola Doholia applauded the UPDF for “a commendable job” and encouraged neighbouring countries to do the same. “It would be good if the neighbouring countries do the same and we want something sustainable for Uganda and other countries with similar assignments,” he added.