A fresh report by the UN monitoring group has cleared the Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF of allegations of arm trafficking in war torn Somalia.
Early this year, UPDF was accused of selling ammunition to contacts of terror group Al-shabab in the gun hub market Bakaara
However, the fresh report implicates the Somali National army of recklessly handling ammunition supplied to them by the Ugandan forces.
The UN monitoring group started investigating the misuse of fire arms after an Al-shabab video released in November last year showed new recruits unpacking guns with serial numbers similar to the ones the UPDF was meant to deliver to Somalia.
In the report, the UN monitoring experts note that the UPDF delivered the consignment of 1000 AK-47 machine guns to the Somali National army and the guns were in turn sent out to the Somali Police and the army. However, no accountability was provided by the Somali forces on how the guns ended up in Al-Shabab hands.
Henry Obbo, the deputy UPDF spokesperson told local media in an interview that the UPDF has always acted professionally and it was only a matter of time before the matter would be resolved. He also urged the experts to investigate the sexual exploitation allegations that were leveled against them by Human Rights Watch.
In the detailed report, the experts pointed out a series of guns that were delivered to Somalia by the UPDF and handed over to the Somalia national army. They then followed the serial numbers that were on the Al-shabab video and the trail led them to the Somalia National Army deployment and arms rota. AMISOM command center has continuously complained of heavy ammunition being used by Al-shabab forces attained from elements of the Somali government.
Despite not pointing fingers directly, the unhappiness sparked an AMISOM investigation into the matter. The details of the investigations are still not public but the UN has now published theirs. The UN monitoring group report was released on Friday and has sparked mixed reactions.
In an interview with Reuters, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said he has no information that links his government officials to the Al-shabab militants. He added that the advisers mentioned by the UN report like Musa Hajji do not exist in his government.
In the report, it is alleged that Musa Hajji, an adviser to the government has consistently used his contacts in Al-Shabab to divert weapons.