U.S. queries Uganda over Somalia sexual exploitation reports
Uganda’s Chief of Defense Forces Gen. Katumba Wamala on Friday said he spent much of the time on a recent trip in the U.S. explaining that the recent allegations that Ugandan troops in Somalia were sexually exploiting women were not backed by evidence.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York based organization early this month issued a report which alleged that Ugandan peacekeeping troops in Somalia were sexually exploiting vulnerable women and girls.
“It has been one of the things which have engaged me very heavily with my friends in the U.S. because it had touched their nerve,” Gen. Katumba told reporters here at the military headquarters.
He has just returned from the U.S. where he was inducted in the Hall of Fame by the U.S. Army War College in recognition for being at the pinnacle of the Ugandan army. He is the fourth General in Africa to be inducted through the Hall of Fame and the first in East Africa.
Wamala said he had asked HRW before it published the report to produce evidence so that the victims can get justice but it declined saying it has to protect its sources.
“If you are protecting the sources, how will they get justice unless I know the persons who are involved? Victims have to give evidence and appear in court,” he said.
Wamala said the African Union is investigating the allegations and Uganda is ready to discipline any of its officers if found guilty.
The U.S. is one of the major facilitators of the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia. Uganda provides the bulk of the peace keeping troops.