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Ugandan Official Rejects U.N. Report Alleging Army Atrocities

Ugandan soldiers serving as peacekeepers
Ugandan soldiers serving as peacekeepers

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  • Ambassador James Mugume, Uganda's Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

A top official with Uganda’s foreign ministry told VOA Kampala has rejected as “highly flawed” a leaked U.N. report that is scheduled to be released Friday that accuses the Ugandan army of committing atrocities in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Uganda’s Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Ambassador James Mugume, said the report demonizes the country’s national army, which he said undermines its ability to participate in peacekeeping operations on behalf of both the African Union, as well as the United Nations.

“We have rejected that report because it contained a lot of falsehoods. One, the method of gathering information on human rights, they got out there (and) talked to some NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) and never talked to the government. Secondly, they themselves admit that the standard of proof is low. Thirdly, they made a lot of falsehoods. They attribute UPDF (Uganda People’s Defense Force) (of) being in places where it was never deployed.”

Ambassador Mugume also questioned the timing of the report. “What is the intention of the report?” he said, “After the Pact on (Security) Stability and Development of Great Lakes of (2006) 06, (we) have opened diplomatic relations at (a) higher level in each other’s capital. We are working together to deal with negative forces. They come out with a report which says that, actually, it was the allied forces that committed genocide and not the Interahamwe (Rwandan Hutu rebels).”

The leaked U.N report alleges that, in 1997, Uganda’s army committed war crimes and crimes against humanity after it supported Congolese rebels to topple the late (Zairean) President Mobuto Sese Seko.

The allegations include massacres of unarmed Congolese, torture, as well as destroyed infrastructure during Congo’s conflict from 1993-2003.

But, Ambassador Mugume said U.N. investigators who wrote the report failed to ascertain the truth by “flagrantly” abdicating their responsibility to interview Uganda’s government about what transpired in the neighboring DRC.

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