The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF Armoured Brigade headquarters at Kassajjagirwa barracks in Masaka District have issued stern warnings to the youth against falling victim to illegal recruitment activities.
Brigadier Joseph Ssemwanga, the Brigade commander on Saturday revealed that they are currently investigating suspected rebel recruitment activities targeting mainly youth in greater Masaka sub region.
Speaking at the gathering of the UPDF's annual end of year celebrations at the brigade barracks, Ssemwanga told his audience that they had already obtained intelligence reports about a group of people going around the sub region, meeting and registering youths with intentions of recruiting them into suspected rebel outfits.
“Security intelligence organs are currently monitoring these suspicious activities and are yet to come up with a comprehensive report about them. We are yet to share the report briefs with all Resident District Commissioners in the region to guide the next course of action,” he noted.
Although Mr Ssemwanga was cagey about the details of groups carrying out these recruitments and their specific areas of operation, he said that some of the unsuspecting recruits have been found in the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo; a known organisation camp of the Allied Democratic Forces rebel group.
“I am now passing a passionate warning to youths in the entire sub region area to avoid being hoodwinked and duped by opportunists who may lead you into illegal activities that will see combat with government forces, and I want to assure you UPDF is strong enough to deal with any situation that may attempt to disrupt the peace of the country,” he said.
Ssemwanga also delivered President Museveni’s appreciation to the soldiers for their dedicated service and patience despite challenges. He asked leaders in the eight districts in the greater Masaka sub region to mobilise youths in their respective areas to take part in the available self-development programmes run by the government to avoid the temptation of being misled by opportunists.
The President who doubles as Commander in Chief committed himself to improving the soldiers’ welfare, urging them to uphold the zeal and discipline required of them.
Mr Joe Walusimbi, the Masaka Resident District Commissioner who graced the party as chief guest also cautioned the public against being misled by selfish politicians who aspire towards failing government programmes in the area.
Walusimbi warned that security will this year be tough on such persons.
The feast which was crowned with prayers was graced by Members of Parliament, religious leaders, and the business community among other residents as one, as a get together that aims at improving the army-civilians relationship.