Uganda's president rejects UN Somalia arms report

By David Clarke

LONDON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni on Monday dismissed as false a United Nations report accusing it and nine other countries of arming and sending troops to back factions in Somalia's conflict.

"Somalia? We have not sent troops to Somalia," Museveni told reporters in London. "That's false, that's false."

A U.N.-commissioned report named Uganda alongside Ethiopia as countries supplying arms, personnel and equipment to Somalia's weak interim government in its standoff with Islamists who control Mogadishu.

Other countries, including Libya and Yemen, were accused of supporting the Islamists.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since the fall of former dictator Siad Barre in 1991 sparked the collapse of the country into quarrelling fiefdoms.

A 14th attempt to install a government was torpedoed by Islamist forces who took control of Mogadishu from U.S.-backed warlords in June and captured large parts of the country.


Analysts say that if war erupts between the two sides vying for control of Somalia it would likely spill over the country's borders and engulf the Horn of Africa.

The U.N.-commissioned report on violations of a 1992 arms embargo listed 10 countries and militant groups who experts say are arming, equipping and training both sides.

The report said monitors had sent a letter to Uganda regarding the allegations but had received no response.

Uganda's defence minister said on Friday no Ugandan official had received any letter of inquiry and vowed to complain formally to the United Nations about the report.

Speaking during a visit to London, Museveni parried several questions about the situation in Somalia. "Ah Somalia, you go and ask the African Union. They know more about it," he said when asked for his views.

"I answer where I am mandated, but I do not usurp power that does not belong to me ... Somalia, I don't have answers."


Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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