Kampala. An Egyptian news website has reported that Uganda is planning to deploy 8,000 soldiers in Yemen to bridge an anticipated gap to be left by the impending withdraw of Sudanese troops from the Saudi-led coalition.
Arabi21 reported that the United Arab Emirates was in talks with Uganda to reinforce its military operations in Yemen following continued pressure on President Omar al- Bashir to withdraw Sudanese troops because of increasing casualties inflicted on them by the Iranian- backed Houthi fighters.
However, government yesterday dismissed the reports, saying there was no such plan and discussion between Uganda and the United Arab Emirates. “I do not think it is practical. Our troops are Pan-African ideologically driven, sending them to Yemen would not serve that purpose,” the State Minister for International Relations, Mr Henry Okello-Oryem, said yesterday.
“What would be the mission? What would be the purpose? And what would be our interest?” Mr Oryem asked.
The army spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, also said there was no plan to deploy in Yemen.
“No UPDF soldier is headed for the Republic of Yemen,” Brig Karemire said.
Yemen has become an epicenter of clashes between Iranian backed fighters and troops from Sudan, Egypt, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan and Bahrain.
Qatar was part of this coalition until it was suspended from the coalition following a diplomatic spat with Saudi Arabia.
Currently, Uganda has more than 6,000 soldiers in Somalia.
The Arabi21 also reported that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was planning to visit Uganda to sign a number of agreements, including deploying the 8,000 Ugandan soldiers to UAE. Mr Oryem said the Prince had twice postponed his visit. “He was supposed to come in February, he pushed it to March, but has now postponed it indefinitely,” he said. President Museveni was in UAE last November to attend the Global Business Forum for Africa, in Dubai, where he held various meetings.