World Bulletin/News Desk
The Ugandan army is questioning 24 of its personnel serving in the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on charges of selling supplies, not arms, to Somalis.
"We are not investigating the sale of weapons at the moment," Ugandan military spokesperson Lt .Col. Paddy Ankunda told Anadolu Agency in a phone interview.
"The soldiers who have been arrested are being investigated for the alleged sale of fuel and food," he added.
Ankunda said he had read reports about some Ugandan peacekeepers selling arms and ammunitions, which might have found its way to Al-Shabaab militants.
"But we are not investigating those reports because there is no credible evidence yet."
A group of soldiers returning from Somalia had met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last week and briefed him on the challenges they were facing there.
"We went to Somalia to fight Al-Shabaab and restore peace, but, shockingly, some of our commanders have been selling our ammunition, weapons and fuel to the enemy," one soldier told AA over the phone, seeking anonymity for not being authorized to talk to the media.
"We were very happy to have met with the president, who is our commander in-chief," asserted the soldier.
"We are glad he gave us [an] audience and listened to our complaints," he added.
President Museveni reportedly promised the soldiers to investigation the claim and hold culprits accountable.
Uganda, a landlocked East African nation, boasts the largest contingent currently serving in AMISOM.
It was the first African country to deploy troops to help fight Somalia's Al-Shabaab insurgency in 2007.
Asked if the allegations would affect the credibility of the peacekeeping mission, Ankunda stressed that only individuals had been accused of wrongdoing.
"This is not the policy of the UPDF [Uganda People's Defense Forces]; that's why we are taking the investigations seriously," said the military spokesperson.
"The UPDF have good credibility as peacekeepers in the region."
Andre Roux, a senior research fellow at the Conflict Management and Peace Building Division of the Institute for Security Studies, urged Ugandan officials and AMISOM to look into the latest allegations.
"The rumors need to first be investigated, and if found to be true then appropriate action should be taken," he told AA by phone from Pretoria.
"If these claims are found to be true, then it will damage the credibility of the peacekeeping mission," he said.
In spite of the corruption allegations, Roux praised AMISOM, which, he said, had succeeded in restoring relative order in Somalia.
"With all the challenges, AMISOM has tried its best in pushing the radical Al-Shabaab militants from major cities of Somalia," he said.
"My first impression is the UK offer is below our expectations and this risks worsening the situation of our citizens in the UK," EU President Donald Tusk told a news conference after the second day of a Brussels summit.
"This June 23, the United Nations mission in Colombia will announce that the FARC has handed over 100 percent of its weapons," Santos told an economic forum in Paris.
Macron is seeking to change a two-decade old EU rule aimed at allowing firms to hire workers with specialised skills from other member states on a temporary basis -- one Paris critics say price French workers out of jobs.
Merkel's deputy spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told reporters Friday that the Berlin meeting would bring together British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron as well as the leaders of Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Norway.
Argentinian football star Lionel Messi agrees to pay €252,000 ($281,000) fine instead of serving 21-month prison sentence
Maarif Foundation officials reassures parents fearful of closures, saying the group will provide continuity of supervision
Foundation in memory of British lawmaker murdered by far-right extremist backs tech giant's campaign
Remarks by Quebec premier not helpful, Muslim council president says
Principles ‘indispensable’ to ‘promoting sustainable stability and security in our societies’, ambassador Koja says
Attackers tried to set free Allied Democratic Force prisoners in North Kivu
Sanctions would 'seriously' endanger bilateral ties, Sergey Lavrov says in telephone call with Rex Tillerson
Health care, education to be granted to EU citizens living in UK with special status
"For me, the future of the (remaining) 27 member states comes before the exit negotiations with Great Britain" said Merkel, Europe's most influential leader, as she arrived for the two-day meeting.
Turkey seeks to ‘tighten Muslim grip on Temple Mount’, prominent Israeli daily asserts