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UPDF recruits 9,000 new soldiers

By Vision Reporter

Added 31st December 2009 03:00 AM

THE strength of the Ugandan army now stands at 50,000 following the pass-out of over 9,000 officers and men in the last two weeks.

THE strength of the Ugandan army now stands at 50,000 following the pass-out of over 9,000 officers and men in the last two weeks.

By Cyprian Musoke and
Frederick Kiwanuka

THE strength of the Ugandan army now stands at 50,000 following the pass-out of over 9,000 officers and men in the last two weeks.

This was revealed by UPDF spokesman Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye as another 2,000 new recruits completed their training at Oliver Thambo army school in Nakaseke on Wednesday.

Kulayigye said thousands of UPDF soldiers had been demobilised since the 1990s due to sickness, disability and old age. The new recruitments, he explained, were meant to replenish the gap. “Our idea is to stabilise the numbers. Ideally, we want UPDF to be a 50,000-man strong force,” he said on phone.

At the pass-out on Wednesday, Lt. Col. Silver Kayemba, in charge of training, said a total of 100 UPDF officers had been trained abroad.

Kayemba urged President Yoweri Museveni to stay around and continue to guide the troops.

“The way forward is to consolidate what we have achieved, and there is no way we can do this without visionary leadership,” he told the President.

The pass-out, the third since Christmas Eve, was attended by the deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Ivan Koreta, former army boss Elly Tumwine and the Commander of the Land Forces, Katumba Wamala.

The day’s highlights included a parade and a colorful march-past, followed by a display of field crafts, including tactical and defensive techniques.

Earlier, Museveni was driven to the firing range where the recruits displayed their maneuvering skills, including rope-walking and belly-crawling in a tunnel under machine gun fire.

Museveni, whose former NRA guerrilla operated in the area in the 1980s, was happy to note that the residents, most of them cattle keepers, had graduated from grass-thatched to iron-roofed houses.
“All of these are Movement houses,” he remarked, recalling that the area used to be a bush before the advent of the NRM.

He advised the residents to diversify into enterprises like fruit-growing and bee-keeping instead of cattle keeping alone to boost their household incomes.

He also promised to improve the conditions at the training school, which was initially a training camp for ANC fighters during the apartheid era. He vowed to replace the maama ingiya pole tin-houses with permanent structures, provide safe water and send a vector control team to eradicate the mosquitoes.

The commandant of the school, Lt. Col. Justus Besisira, said a total of 2,168 were recruited in March but 107 dropped out due to indiscipline and desertion. He blamed the desertion on the influence of parents.

Koreta reminded the new soldiers that their major mission was to defend the image of the country, protect the people and their property.

The prize for the overall best performer went to Private Godfrey Biryomumisho, followed by Private Robert Otim, while Private Norah Ongodia emerged as the best female student.

UPDF recruits 9,000 new soldiers

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