'Soldiers are for fighting, not for sitting': Museveni says his army ready if needed in Mozambique

Ugandas President Yoweri Museveni.
Ugandas President Yoweri Museveni.
Badru Katumba / AFP
  • Uganda is supporting Mozambique logistically in the fight against IS in Cabo Delgado.
  • President Yuweri Museveni says he is prepared to send in his army to deal with the problem.
  • Meanwhile, army general says Uganda happy with China's involvement in the country.

Uganda is open to the idea of sending troops to fight insurgents in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado.

But for now, its resources are stretched because already, Uganda has 6 000 soldiers on a peacekeeping mission in Somalia and another 4 000 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

This was said by the country's strongman President Yoweri Museveni in an open session at State House in Entebbe with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi who is on a three-day state visit to Uganda.

"What we decided to do, for now, was to send materials. I am told the problem (insurgency) is being solved, but if it's not solved for some reason, we shall have to deploy a big force there," Museveni said.

He added that "soldiers are for fighting, not for sitting. If someone comes into our zone we fight".

Nyusi said that one of the main reasons for his visit was to thank Uganda for its part in the fight against Islamic extremist groups in Cabo Delgado.

"Uganda is already supporting Mozambique logistically and one of the purposes of this visit is to thank the sister country," he said.

READ | Bobi Wine calls on world leaders to cut ties with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Meanwhile, Uganda's head of the reserve forces and Museveni's military advisor, General Salim Saleh, said he was happy with China's involvement in his country.

He was addressing the public on Thursday when Nyusi toured Kapeeka Industrial Park just outside Kampala.

He said:

Me and my colleagues have been obsessed with this idea of how Europe underdeveloped Africa. That's why we are happy to have the Chinese here. We do not know whether they will develop us or underdevelop us like the Europeans undeveloped us, but so far so good.

Saleh added that the Chinese had "turned soil into products, they have created jobs", and "we hope that the Chinese won't underdevelop us".

The town of Kapeeka is where Museveni launched his armed uprising against then-president Milton Obote, before eventually capturing power in 1986.

The Kapeeka Industrial Park is funded with R1.8 billion from Chinese investors and has allegedly created more than 2 500 jobs.

READ | Uganda deports leading Rwandan opposition figure

Nyusi marvelled at how the area had been transformed from being a base for rebellion to an economic hub.

"One advantage is that this land which was in the past the birth of liberation is now the birth of development, so it's important to say that we will empower our people for development," he said.

In a statement after Nyusi's visit, Uganda's Department of Press and Public Relations News Information and Communication said Mozambique would send a delegation to learn about the concept of industrial parks.

"Mozambique will send a team of experts to acquire more knowledge on setting up industrial parks which they have also started back home," reads the statement.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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