The army in Uganda has denied reports that it is attempting to destabilise Ethiopia by training and providing support to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has been at war with the Ethiopian government since 2020.
The reports seem to have first emerged around May on Ethiopian online outlets.
Ugandan Army Spokesperson Brigadier Felix Kulayigye tweeted on Sunday that the alleged attempts by Uganda to destabilise Ethiopia were a total fabrication.
A detailed article appeared last week in an online outlet based in New Zealand, along with a list of Ugandan senior army officers and others from across the security forces, who are allegedly spearheading the training operation in the central Ugandan district of Masaka.
The document indicates that over 4,000 Tigrayan soldiers were to be trained in four separate facilities in Uganda.
It further claims that the training operation is being supported by the US and Egypt.
One of the senior officers named in the report is the President’s son and commander of the Ugandan land forces General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who in 2021 tweeted in support of the Tigrayan forces, referring to them as “brothers”.
It is not clear yet if the document is authentic or part of a fake news campaign. The New Zealand website, known as Scoop, said it could not verify the source or whether the details were accurate or not.
But there are some inconsistencies. It names James Kabarebe as a former defence minister in Uganda, but the country has never had a minister by that name in the position.
Brigadier Kulayigye also tweeted that the alleged collaboration between Uganda and South Sudan in the operation was untrue, because the Ugandan ambassador to South Sudan, who is named as a coordinator of part of the operation, had never met with a South Sudanese general named in the report.
Uganda has a history of getting involved in conflicts across the east and Horn of Africa. Its army is currently fighting a rebel group of Ugandan origin in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
It was the first to deploy to Somalia to fight the al-Shabab militants as part of an African Union force, and was involved in securing the government in South Sudan when clashes broke out between President Salva Kiir and his then-deputy’s forces in 2013.
Uganda also clashed with the Rwandan army in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 2000s.