|Military of Uganda
Flag of Uganda
|Service branches||Land Forces, Air Wing, Paramilitary Forces|
|Headquarters||Ministry of Defence, Republic House, P.O. Box 3798, Kampala, Uganda|
|Defence Minister||Dr. Cryspus Kiyonga|
|Chief of Defence Forces||General Aronda Nyakairima|
|Military age||18 years of age|
|Active personnel||40–45,000 (IISS) ; 46,800 (World Bank 2010)|
|Budget||$95 million (FY98/99)|
|Percent of GDP||5.6% (FY98/99)|
Ugandan Bush War
Lord's Resistance Army insurgency
First Congo War
Second Congo War
War in Somalia (2006–2009)
The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), previously the National Resistance Army, is the armed forces of Uganda. From 2007 to 2011, the International Institute for Strategic Studies has estimated the UPDF has a total strength of 40,000–45,000, and consists of land forces and an Air Wing.
After Uganda achieved independence in October 1962, British officers retained most high-level military commands. Ugandans in the rank and file claimed this policy blocked promotions and kept their salaries disproportionately low. These complaints eventually destabilized the armed forces, already weakened by ethnic divisions. Each postindependence regime expanded the size of the army, usually by recruiting from among people of one region or ethnic group, and each government employed military force to subdue political unrest.
The origins of the present Ugandan armed forces can be traced back to 1902, when the Uganda Battalion of the King's African Rifles was formed. Ugandan soldiers fought as part of the King's African Rifles during the First World War and Second World War. As Uganda moved toward independence, the army stepped up recruitment, and the government increased the use of the army to quell domestic unrest. The army was becoming more closely involved in politics, setting a pattern that continued after independence. In January 1960, for example, army troops deployed to Bugisu and Bukedi districts in the east to quell political violence. In the process, the soldiers killed twelve people, injured several hundred, and arrested more than 1,000. A series of similar clashes occurred between troops and demonstrators, and in March 1962 the government recognized the army's growing domestic importance by transferring control of the military to the Ministry of Home Affairs.
On 9 October 1962 Uganda became independent from the United Kingdom, with 4th Battalion, King's African Rifles becoming the Uganda Rifles. The armed forces more than doubled, from 700 to 1,500, and the government created 2nd Battalion, Uganda Rifles, stationed at the northeastern town of Moroto. The traditional leader of the Baganda, Edward Mutesa, became president of Uganda. Milton Obote, a northerner and longtime opponent of autonomy for the southern kingdoms including Buganda, was prime minister. Mutesa recognized the seriousness of the rank-and-file demands for Africanizing the officer corps, but he was more concerned about potential northern domination of the military, a concern that reflected the power struggle between Mutesa and Obote. Mutesa used his political power to protect the interests of his Baganda constituency, and he refused to support demands for Africanization of the officer ranks.
In January 1964, following a mutiny by Tanganyikan soldiers in protest over their own Africanisation crisis, unrest spread throughout the Ugandan armed forces, then seemingly known as the Uganda Rifles. On January 22, 1964, soldiers of the 1st Battalion, Uganda Rifles, in Jinja mutinied to press their demands for a pay raise and a Ugandan officer corps. They also detained their British officers, several noncommissioned officers, and the minister of interior, Felix Onama, who had arrived in Jinja to represent government views to the rank and file. Obote appealed for British military support, hoping to prevent the mutiny from spreading to other parts of the country. About 450 British soldiers from 2nd Battalion, The Scots Guards and Staffordshire Regiment (elements of the 24th Infantry Brigade) responded, surrounded the First Battalion barracks at Jinja, seized the armory, and quelled the mutiny. The government responded two days later by dismissing several hundred soldiers from the army, several of whom were subsequently detained.
Although the authorities later released many of the detained soldiers and reinstated some in the army, the mutiny marked a turning point in civil-military relations. The mutiny reinforced the army's political strength. Within weeks of the mutiny, the president's cabinet also approved a military pay raise retroactive to January 1, 1964, more than doubling the salaries of those in private to staff-sergeant ranks. Additionally, the government raised defense allocations by 400 percent. The number of Ugandan officers increased from eighteen to fifty-five. Two northerners, Shaban Opolot and Idi Amin Dada, assumed command positions in the Uganda Rifles and later received promotions to Brigadier and commander in chief, and army chief of staff, respectively.
Following the 1964 mutiny, the government remained fearful of internal opposition. Obote moved the army headquarters approximately 54 miles (87 km) from Jinja to Kampala. He also created a secret police force, the General Service Unit (GSU) to bolster security. Most GSU employees guarded government offices in and around Kampala, but some also served in overseas embassies and other locations throughout Uganda. When British training programs ended, Israel started training Uganda's army, air force, and GSU personnel. Several other countries also provided military assistance to Uganda. When Congolese aircraft bombed the West Nile villages of Paidha and Goli on February 13, 1965, President Obote again increased military recruitment and doubled the army's size to more than 4,500. Further expansion included the creation of a third battalion at Mubende, a signals squadron at Jinja, brigade reconnaissance units, an antiaircraft detachment, an army ordnance depot, a brigade signals squadron training wing, a records office, a pay and pensions office, and a Uganda army workshop.
Tensions rose in the power struggle over control of the government and the army and over the relationship between the army and the Baganda people. Shortly after February 1966, Amin was appointed Chief of the Army and Air Force Staff, while Brigadier Opolot was transferred to the Ministry of Defence as Chief of the Defence STaff. On May 24, 1966, Obote ousted Mutesa, assumed his offices of president and commander in chief, suspended the 1962 constitution, and consolidated his control over the military by eliminating several rivals. In October 1966 Opolot was dismissed from the army and detained under the emergency regulations then in force.
In 1970, the International Institute for Strategic Studies assessed the Ugandan armed forces to consist of 6,700 personnel, constituting an Army of 6,250 with two brigade groups, each of two battalions, plus an independent infantry battalion, with some Ferret armoured cars, and BTR-40 and BTR-152 armoured personnel carriers, plus an air arm of 450 with 12 Fouga Magister armed jet trainers, and seven MiG-15s and MiG-17s.
In 1979, before the Uganda-Tanzania War, the Ugandan armed forces were reported, by the IISS, as consisting of 20,000 land forces personnel, with two four-battalion brigades and five other battalions of various types, plus a training regiment. There were a total of 35 T-34, T-55, and M-4 Sherman medium tanks. An air arm was 1,000 strong with 21 MiG-21 and 10 MiG-17 combat aircraft. The IISS noted that the Ugandan armed forces collapsed in the face of the Tanzanian onslaught and the serviceable aircraft were removed to Tanzania.
The Uganda National Liberation Front ruled Uganda from the overthrow of Amin in April 1979 until the disputed national elections in December 1980. During that period the Front's military wing, the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) acted as Uganda's national armed forces. Colonel Tito Okello served as army commander and Colonel David Oyite Ojok as chief of staff immediately after Amin's fall.
After the Museveni government was formed in 1986, a number of key Rwanda Patriotic Front personnel became part of the National Resistance Army that became Uganda's new national armed forces. Fred Rwigyema was appointed deputy minister of defense and deputy army commander-in-chief, second only to Museveni in the military chain of command for the nation. Paul Kagame was appointed acting chief of military intelligence. Other Tutsi refugees were highly placed: Peter Baingana was head of NRA medical services and Chris Bunyenyezi was the commander of the 306th Brigade, while Adam Wasswa was the Commander of the 316th Brigade at Moroto in northern Uganda, Steven Ndugutse was commander of the 79th Battalion, and Sam Kaka was Military Police Commander. Tutsi refugees formed a disproportionate number of NRA officers for the simple reason that they had joined the rebellion early and thus had accumulated more experience.
The National Resistance Army was renamed the Uganda People's Defence Force following the enactment of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. UPDF's primary focus was the conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group operating in the country's northern region. Since March 2002 UPDF has been granted permission to carry out operating against LRA bases across the border in the Sudan, and these raids, collectively known as Operation Iron Fist, have resulted in the repatriation of many abducted children being held by the rebels as child soldiers or sex slaves. However the LRA fled Uganda and were pushed deep into the jungles of the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (principally Orientale Province).
The UPDF has also been the subject of controversy for having a minimum age for service of 13. Many international organizations have condemned this as being military use of children. This has created an image problem for the UPDF and may have impacted the international aid Uganda receives. Western nations have sent a limited level of military aid to Uganda. "Between 1990 and 2002, the army payroll had at least 18,000 ghost soldiers, according to a report by General David Tinyefuza." The problem continued in 2003, when there was a severe problem of 'ghost' soldiers within the UPDF. As of 2008, these personnel problems has been exacerbated by the surge of UPDF troops resigning to go to work with the Coalition Forces in Iraq. They mostly work as an additional guard force at control points and dining facilities, for example.
Prior to 2000, the United States armed forces trained together with the UPDF as part of the African Crisis Response Initiative. This cooperation was terminated in 2000 as a result of Uganda's incursion into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Following the June 2003 UPDF withdrawal of troops from the DRC, limited nonlethal military assistance has restarted. The UPDF participates in the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance programme with the United States.
After several interventions in the Congo, the UPDF was involved in a further incursion there from December 2008, stretching into February 2009, against the Lord's Resistance Army in the Garamba area. UPDF special forces and artillery, supported by aircraft, were joined by the Congolese FARDC and elements of the Sudan People's Liberation Army. Called 'Operation Lightning Thunder' by the UPDF, it was commanded by Brig. Patrick Kankiriho, commander of 3rd Division.
The UPDF currently has more than 6,000 soldiers serving with AMISOM in Somalia. The force commander in 2009, Ugandan Major General Nathan Mugisha, was wounded in a car bomb attack on 17 September 2009 which left nine soldiers dead, including his second in command the Burundian Major General Juvenal Niyoyunguruza. The current force commander is the Ugandan Lieutenant General Andrew Gutti.
Commander of Land Forces is Lieutenant General Edward Katumba Wamala. Lieutenant General Wamala was among military cadets sent to Monduli Military Academy in Tanzania in 1979 (now the TPDF's Tanzania Military Academy, which Ugandan cadets still attend) and served as Inspector General of Police until 2005.
The IISS Military Balance 2007 estimates that the land forces include five divisions (each with up to five brigades), one armoured and one artillery brigade. The divisions are as follows:
The 2nd Division, according to afdevinfo.com, includes the divisional headquarters at Mbarara, the 17th, 69th, 73rd, and 77th Battalions, the Rwenzori Mountain Alpine Brigade, possibly another Alpine brigade, and the 3rd Tank Battalion, and has been heavily involved with border operations since the Congo Civil War began in the 1990s.
|Sukhoi Su-30MK2||Multi role fighter||6||Delivered July 2011 for $740 million (Shs1.8 trillion)|
|Multi role fighter||5|
|Multi role fighter||6||7 MiG-21 Bis\U Delivered; one lost in a crash in December 2008. Upgraded by IAI (MIG-21-2000)|
|Aero L-39 Albatros||Light attack/ trainer||3|
|Aermacchi SF-260||Light attack-trainer||2||delivered|
|Mil Mi-24 Hind||heavy attack helicopter||1||with five further 'Hinds' unserviceable of a total of 12 Mi-24 delivered|
|Agusta-Bell AB-206 JetRanger||Utility helicopter||?||status unknown of a total of 10 delivered|
|AB.212||Light transport helicopter||?||4 delivered.|
|FFA AS-202 Bravo||basic trainer||2||status unknown|
|Bell 412||Light helicopter||?||status unknown. A total of 6 delivered.|
|Mil-17 Hip-H||Medium transport helicopter||7||status unknown. A total of 5 Mil Mi-8 and 8 Mil Mi-17 delivered.|
The IISS Military Balance 2007 says there are 1,800 paramilitary personnel, which include the Marines—Uganda's naval force—with 400 personnel, and eight riverine patrol craft, all of less than 100 tonnes. There is also a 800-strong Uganda Police Force Air Wing with one Bell JetRanger, and a 600-strong Border Defence Unit equipped only with small arms.
The UDPF Marine Wing has 400 personnel, and eight riverine patrol craft, all of less than 100 tonnes. Its main mission is to patrol Lake Victoria and the Nile River. Colonel Micheal Nyarwa is reported as the current commander.
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