President Yoweri Museveni has assured Ugandans that the country is secure and threats of armed insurgency by Allied Democratic Force (ADF) rebels from the Democratic Republic of Congo will be thwarted by the army.
Museveni was on Wednesday officiating at the celebrations to mark 27 years since the NRA/M took over power following a five-year guerrilla war. This year's celebrations were held in Kasese district.
"ADF terrorists are still in Congo. However, if they dare cross the border, they know what happened to them last time in 2006. Over 100 of them entered Semliki valley, only 13 went back to Congo," Museveni said.
Museveni said the war-torn eastern DR Congo is a haven of armed groups, yet foreign troops from countries such as India, Pakistan and Uruguay deployed under MONUSCO, are on military tourism.
He described the situation in some parts of Congo a "terrorism conservation project."
He said initially, Uganda experienced security problems because there was delay in the modernising the UPDF, following a demobilisation exercise that reduced the military's size from 100,000 to 50,000 officers and men.
"Some quarters took the views that we should spend less on the smaller army. We, therefore, ended up with an under-equipped and smaller army. This made our people in the north suffer under Kony and the cattle rustlers of Karamoja for much longer than was necessary. When the army was reduced in 1991, we should have straight away adequately equipped it," Museveni noted.
The President said it was not until 2001 that the leadership cut 23 percent from all government ministries in order to start properly equipping the smaller army, which was a 10- year delay.
"The moment we did that, it was the end of Kony terrorism and the cattle rustling in Karamoja. This delay in equipping the army properly was an unnecessary mistake that cost us development time," he said.