New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Museveni Addresses Sri Lankan Army Top Brass

President Yoweri Museveni has attributed the success of Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) in Somalia to the discipline on which the Uganda army was formed.

President Museveni who travelled with his wife Janet Museveni have been in Sri Lanka on a three-day visit at the invitation of his counterpart President Mahinda Rajapakasa.

While talking to the top brass of the Sri Lankan army including the army commander General Jagath Jayasooriya after watching the recorded video of the defeat of the LTTE (Tamil Tigers forces) that terrorised the people of Sri Lanka for decades, President Museveni yesterday stressed that importance of a disciplined army if anyone is to win a war.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (commonly known as the LTTE or the Tamil Tigers) was a separatist militant organization that was based in northern Sri Lanka. Founded in May 1976 it waged a violent secessionist and nationalist campaign to create an independent state in the north and east of Sri Lanka for Tamil people. This campaign evolved into the Sri Lankan Civil War, which ran from 1983 until 2009, when the LTTE was defeated by the Sri Lankan Military.

At the height of its power, the LTTE possessed a well-developed militia and carried out many high-profile attacks, including the assassinations of several high-ranking Sri Lankan and Indian politicians.

Interacting with the Sri Lankan army chiefs, the President observed that the UPDF has succeeded where big armies failed under hostile conditions because of this discipline." Discipline is very important as Mao pointed out that soldiers should not take a needle or thread from civilians, no soldier should steal anything or harass civilians." he stressed.

According to a press release from State House, Museveni observed that another important factor, that is to distinguish between the misleaders and the misled. The two groups, he said that should be separated and dealt with differently.

The President who told the officers that he knows how to overthrow a government and retain power advised that another prerequisite is to have well trained soldiers.

"They should learn to operate in small units" he noted adding that some soldiers because of poor training fear to operate in small groups preferring to move in a mass believing that this instills fear into the enemy because of the large numbers.

He however, explained that to defeat an insurgency, the army must deploy effectively to deny the rebels a chance of infuriating the liberated areas. "It should be like football where the opponent team member is denied control over, it is kicked away from the opponent." he explained.

He criticized some of the developed countries who impose restrictions on countries facing insurgencies not to recruit enough soldiers to provide for both permanent zonal forces and the highly mobile units and defeat the enemy decisively.

"If the liberated areas are left open they can be infested by the enemy. When this happens, Museveni said that the government soldiers dance on the tune of the enemy. He therefore asserted that although there is need for well trained personnel in form of Special Forces who can operate in small groups with good commanders and high value targets, countries facing insurgencies must be allowed to recruit more people into the army.

Museveni pointed out the war in Sri Lanka took a long time because previous leaders overlooked these important war tactics. The President supported the Siri Lankan proposal of joint seminars and cooperation between the UPDF and the Sri Lankan army and other countries to share experience and knowledge.

Mrs. Museveni who is also who is also Minister of Karamoja , and MP for Ruhama had a parallel program which included meeting several senior government officials on matters related to her Ministry.

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