The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has denied allegations that it is training the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been at war with the Ethiopian government since 2020.
The allegations were first reported in May, on several Ethiopian online and mainstream media outlets, in which Uganda was pinpointed for providing moral and logistical support, as well as offering training to the rebels, in a bid to destabilize Ethiopia.
Adding weight to these allegations, a New Zealand based news outlet, the Scoop published last week, a document with a long list of senior and junior army officers, who are allegedly overseeing the training operation in the Ugandan central district of Masaka.
However, the authenticity of the document has not been independently verified. Some political commentators contend it is part of a fake news campaign.
The website itself contended it could not verify the source or whether the details were accurate or not.
Worse still, the document is marred by inconsistencies. For instance; it names James Kabarebe as a former defence minister of Uganda, yet the East African country has never had a minister who goes by that name, in the specified position.
Responding to the allegations, UPDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Felix Kulayigye dismissed the reports as a total fabrication, in a tweet on Sunday.
“The so called report on alleged attempts to distablize Ethiopia is a total FABRICATION that exposes the author’s ignorance of simple and basic facts,” tweeted Lt.Gen. Kulayigye.
It should be noted that the controversial list also indicated that over 4,000 Tigrayan soldiers were to be trained in four separate facilities in Uganda.
It further claimed that the training operation is being supported by the US and the Egyptian government of Abdul Fattah El Sisi.
More surprising, the list implicated the commander of UPDF land forces Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba as being behind the operation, linking it with his earlier tweet a few months ago in solidarity with the TPLF rebels referring to them as “brothers”.
Brig. Gen. Kulayigye elaborated that the alleged collaboration between Uganda and South Sudan in the operation, as mentioned in the document was untrue, because the Ugandan ambassador to South Sudan, who is named as a coordinator of the operation, has never met with a South Sudanese general.
“1st of all Uganda does not boarder Ethiopia as the author claims, A one James Kabarebe has never been a minister of defense in Uganda, Uganda, ambassador to S.Sudan has never met alleged Gen. Akol. The two have never met. They don’t know each other'” Kulayigye elaborated in a tweet.
Uganda has in the past been accused of taking part in conflicts across the east and Horn of Africa, with ulterior motives.
Its army is currently fighting a rebel group, the Allied Democratic Force (ADF), which is of the Ugandan origin based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
When the Alshabab threatened Mogadishu in March 2007, Uganda was the first country to deploy in Somalia to fight the militants, as part of an African Union force (AMISOM).
The UPDF was also involved in securing the government in South Sudan, when clashes broke out between President Salva Kiir and his then-deputy’s forces in 2013.
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