CDF Gen. Katumba Wamala (c) and commander of Ugandan contingent in somalia, Brig. Sam Kavuma (R) in Barawe, 220km south of Mogadishu

As the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) prepares to pull its soldiers out of the African Union mission fighting Islamist group al-Shabab in Somalia, the army commander Gen Katumba Wamala has revealed the main reason behind the imminent withdrawal.

Gen Wamala said Uganda could pull out before its deadline of December 2017 if another country is found to replace it. So far at least 5,000 government soldiers have been trained, a number that is far below the needed 30,000. This force is not enough to even be deployed and secure the liberated areas.

According to the CDF, the decision to withdraw the troops was taken because of frustration with the Somali army and military advisers from US, UK and Turkey.

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Uganda provides the biggest contingent of soldiers with over 6,000 troops in the 22,000-strong AU force, Amisom based in Sector One that covers Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle and Lower Shabelle regions.

AMISOM soldiers

There had been rumours that the Uganda – Western disagreements stemmed from the reduction of allowances by 20 per cent provided by the European Union could negatively impact morale and overall effectiveness troops. This may have even led some Ugandan troops into alleged illegal sales of military supplies.

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