INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Updf Activity in Kenya Highly Unlikely

Published: Tue 15 Jan 2008 12:25 PM
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RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #0058 0151225
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R 151225Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9874
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS KAMPALA 000058
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PBTS PGOV PREL UG
SUBJECT: UPDF ACTIVITY IN KENYA HIGHLY UNLIKELY
REFERENCE: A) KAMPALA 36, 31 and 19
1. (SBU) Summary: The GOU has strongly rejected press reports and
Orange Democratic Movement allegations that Ugandan forces are
active in Kenya. The US Mission in Uganda has seen no evidence of
any GOU involvement in western Kenya; to the contrary, the GOU
appears to be treating border issues and refugees with great care.
End Summary.
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Uganda Press and ODM Allege UPDF Activity in Kenya
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2. (U) The opposition newspaper "Daily Monitor" in a January 10
article reported that Ugandan gunmen shot rioters in Kenya during
the post-electoral violence. The report alleged that Kenyan
opposition leader Raila Odinga, during a radio interview, said that
he called President Museveni to protest the presence of armed
Ugandans in Kisumu, Kenya. He claimed that these unidentified
gunmen killed a number of Kenyan civilians. Museveni reportedly
denied the allegations. Odinga, according to the Daily Monitor,
accepted his response and suggested that the "strangers" could have
been Kenyan police officers masquerading as Ugandans. Kenyan Police
Spokesperson Eric Kiraraithe in a January 13 statement picked up by
the Ugandan press denied reports of UPDF activity in Kenya. He said
that police investigations into the allegations found no evidence of
GOU involvement.
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FM Kutesa Denies Press Reports
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3. (U) Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa in a January 11 press release,
called the Daily Monitor's report "inflammatory and insensitive."
He denied that the United Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) had deployed
in Kenya, and noted that the GOU had come to the aid of hundreds of
Kenyan nationals seeking refuge in Uganda. He pledged to redouble
GOU efforts to work with all parties in Kenya to find a peaceful and
lasting solution to the current crisis, and warned journalists to be
more careful in their reporting.
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UPDF Scoffs at Reports
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4. (SBU) UPDF Land Forces Commander Lieutenant General Katumba
Wamala told the DATT on January 14 that there are no UPDF soldiers,
GOU police, or paramilitary deployed in Kenya. He reported,
moreover, that the GOU had decided against sending more troops to
the border for fear of raising tensions with the GOK or other
factions.
5. (SBU) UPDF Spokesperson Major Paddy Ankunda, in a January 15
conversation with PolOff, called the reports "bad" and "unhelpful"
journalism. He said that two UPDF platoons in Mbale, Uganda had
been put on alert to respond to any violence within Uganda, but
strongly denied reports of UPDF activity in Kenya or around the
border area. Ankunda said that no additional troops had been
shifted to the border region, adding that Uganda police presence had
been strengthened instead.
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Comment
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6. (SBU) Covert UPDF activity in western Kenya is highly unlikely
and we have seen no evidence of any such activity. The GOU is
taking great care not to make any major military moves towards the
Kenyan border for fear that it might heighten cross-border tensions
or further fuel the ODM allegations against the GOU.
CHRITTON
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