The army has started recalling ex-servicemen for deployment against the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab terrorists in war-torn Somalia.
The week-long exercise, which started on Monday, will end on Saturday. The recall targets army veterans, retired soldiers, local defence units and members of auxiliary forces such as Arrow Boys and Amuka in eastern Uganda.
Army spokesperson, Colonel Felix Kulayigye said the recruitment was intended to prepare for the return of a contingent of peacekeepers from Somalia early next year.
He defended the recruitment of veterans saying it would reduce on the time needed to train new soldiers, adding that it would also provide the veterans employment.
"Training a new soldier requires nine months of training, yet you need only three months to polish up a veteran. Besides, this will provide a source of employment for our veterans," Kulayigye said.
Training of the recruits is expected to start next month, ahead of their deployment in March or April, he disclosed.
To be eligible for deployment, the veteran must be below 47 years of age and should have been at the rank of lieutenant at the time of retirement.
One must also present a discharge certificate, a letter of recommendation from LCs and should be physically and mentally fit. Army deserters and those dismissed with disgrace will not be considered.
Successful candidates will undergo refresher training at the Peace Support Operations Training School in Singo.
Apart from the UPDF troops on the peacekeeping mission in Somalia, Uganda also deployed Police personnel, some of whom supervised the recent presidential elections in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. Mogadishu was liberated and the prevailing calm paved way for the promulgation of a constitution and election of MPs, speaker and president.
With a current force of about 7,000 troops in Somalia, Uganda contributes the bulk of the African Union peacekeeping Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), followed by Kenya, Burundi and Djibouti.
A UN resolution passed this year permitted an increase in the number of troops, allowing the peacekeeping force to extend operations to all the regions of Somalia.