Uganda Willing to Send Troops to Central African Republic War

Uganda is willing to contribute troops to halt fighting in the Central African Republic if the African Union constitutes a force, said Henry Okello Oryem, the minister of state for international relations.

“If the AU deems it wise and composes an AU force, Uganda will have no objection,” he said by telephone from the capital, Kampala. “We can only go in under the AU as we can’t do it singly.”

Uganda already has an unspecified number of soldiers in the Central African Republic hunting for the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels who fled the East African nation in 2005. It also has more than 6,000 troops in an AU-led mission to support Somalia’s new government.

The so-called Seleka militia in Central African Republic on Dec. 10 started an assault and headed toward the capital, Bangui, after accusing President Francois Bozize of failing to honor a 2008 peace deal. The rebels halted their offensive and may hold talks with the government in nearby Gabon on Jan. 10.

Bozize has asked the rebels to disarm and allow him to finish his term after winning elections in 2011, while offering to create a government of national unity.

Central African Republic has been dogged by violence since its independence from France in 1960, with at least four battles for Bangui taking place from 1996 to 2003, when Bozize toppled predecessor Ange-Felix Patasse, whom he served as army chief.

To contact the reporters on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at fojambo@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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