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Ugandan Army request AU to increase compensation for soldiers killed in Somalia


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(By Bonny Apunyu)

Uganda’s top army commanders on Monday called upon African Union (AU) to increase the current compensation to the families of soldiers killed in Somalia from about Shs150 million ($50,000) to about Shs210 million ($70,000), Daily Monitor reported Tuesday.

The Ugandan army officials reportedly made the request while visiting African Union (AU) commission head of peace support operations department, Mr Bam Sivuyille, in Kampala on Monday. “The Ugandan team suggested to the AU official that there is need to increase the death compensations because the soldiers, who unfortunately pass on from Somalia, usually leave young families that require extra support,” the statement issued by the army said, on Tuesday.

According to Uganda’s Daily Monitor, the meeting chaired by Uganda's Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, also discussed the issue of delayed payment of soldiers’ allowances in Somalia. But Mr Sivuyille reportedly said the delayed payments did not affect Uganda alone.

“Even the other three contingents are affected because of adjustments being made in the financial process at the African Union,” he said. Other countries with troops in the Horn of African country are Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti. Sierra Leone was the fifth but withdrew because of Ebola.

Meanwhile, Ugandan soldiers have reportedly been complaining of delayed payment of their allowances in Somalia but Mr Sivuyille said the arrears would be cleared soon. “We are aware that it had taken quite a while, but we are glad to announce that funds have now been released to clear the arrears.” Mr Sivuyille said.

The meeting, also attended by the permanent secretary of ministry of Defence, Ms Rosette Byengoma, the Commander Land Forces, Maj Gen David Muhoozi, and the Joint Chief of Staff of the UPDF, Maj Gen Wilson Mbadi, raised the issue of delayed reimbursement for the country’s worn out military equipment used in Somalia.

The United Nations annually pays every troop-contributing country in Somalia tens of millions of dollars for wear and tear of its military assets and equipment. Daily Monitor says Uganda has not given figures on how much it is paid but part of this reimbursement will be used to build an army referral hospital in Mbuya, the army said in April.

According to Daily Monitor , there are 6,223 Ugandan troops on peace keeping mission in Somalia and each soldier is paid Uganda Shs 2.4million (approximately US $ 780) as a monthly allowance.

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