By Raymond Baguma and agencies
Uganda is to send 400 peacekeeping troops as part of the African-led International Support Mission to the war-stricken Central African Republic (MISCA).
Foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa was in the French capital Paris on Friday during which he met his French counterpart Laurent Fabius, to seek support to the UN General Assembly presidency. Kutesa was endorsed by AU to the UN general assembly presidency.
In an interview with the French Radio France International (RFI) on Monday, Kutesa said he had met Fabius and discussed the situation in CAR and Uganda was asked, and had accepted to send the troops.
CAR degenerated into civil and religious violence after the Seleka junta; a grouping of five rebel movements of mainly Muslim, overthrew President Francois Bozize in March last year.
Presently, CAR is faced with widespread violence with UN peacekeeping mission comprised of troops from France as well as other central African countries. Presently, UPDF is operating in CAR under the AU-authorized Regional Taskforce to hunt for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leaders who remain a regional threat.
Kutesa told RFI during the interview, “We hope that there will be a UN arrangement for equipment, but we’ve been asked for men, for troops.”
Asked whether this would not stretch the Uganda which already has troops serving in Somali and South Sudan Kutesa said, “We have a lot more troops at home. What we don’t have is equipment and money. But that’s also our contribution, you know, every country, every member of the UN has a duty to contribute to peace and security in the world. And that’s what we can contribute, so we are ready to do so.”
Kutesa said he had drawn up priorities which he discussed with the French foreign minister, as well the French-Uganda cooperation on trade and investment. Kutesa said during his term as president, priority will be given to implementation of the post-2015 MDG agenda, a reformed UN Security Council and dealing with conflict resolution and peace building.