Museveni wants Somalia airport and docks blocked
President Museveni yesterday asked the UN to enforce blanket security check over Somalia by declaring its airspace a “no-fly zone” and blocking seaports to defeat the al Shabaab.
President Museveni yesterday asked the UN to enforce blanket security check over Somalia by declaring its airspace a “no-fly zone” and blocking seaports to defeat the al Shabaab. These drastic measures, Mr Museveni reportedly told a closed-door meeting with visiting members of the UN Security Council, are necessary since the Somali fighters replenish their arsenal with supplies delivered using water vessels.
Sources that attended the meeting said the President also proposed that instead of lobbying reluctant countries to contribute troops to the African Mission in Somalia, a few willing ones be identified and facilitated as “frontline” actors to achieve success.
The Security Council team led by its president, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, also Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, said they will consult their individual countries before replying to Kampala’s suggestions.
President Museveni told a press conference moments later that Uganda can mobilise “any number of troops” required for Somalia peace-keeping operation if the international community is ready to pick the bills. “We have the human beings, training and experience,” he said. “We can raise any number [of soldiers] because of our revolutionary history.”
The African Union, which runs the Somalia mission on behalf of the UN, hopes a troop surge from the present 7,000 to 20,000 could break the back of al Shabaab, if deployed in the countryside.
Ten days ago, Uganda threatened to disengage from all UN-sanctioned peace operations if the world body publicised a report incriminating the UPDF in war crimes in the neighbouring DR Congo.
The UN Commission for Human Rights ignored the Kampala and Kigali protests, and on Friday, released the report thick with allegations of crimes against humanity and possible genocide committed during the 1997-2003 war.
President Museveni said he is yet to peruse the findings but is certain the critical document, produced after two years of investigations, is “full of lies” because “for us, you rape a woman or kill a mwanainchi, you are dead”. “I’m told in these international groups, there are fiction writers. They should look for something else to write about because our army is a people’s army; it’s not a colonial army.”
The President, however, directed Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, the Chief of Defence Forces, to “demolish” the lies in an appropriate written response. This is the President’s first public comment on a report which has stirred global fury among human rights activists and energised a call, including by Washington, for immediate prosecution of culprits. Dr Rugunda, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, said they are impressed with political and military cooperation by the Great Lakes countries to resolve regional problems.