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Former Head of Uganda’s Military Intelligence Gen David Sejusa has come out to defend the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) which stands accused of plundering natural resources from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Ugandan army was in 2005 found guilty by The Hague based International Court of Justice and ordered to pay $10billion to the DRC.
But Gen Sejusa in defense of the Ugandan army, said yesterday that looting and plunder is part of war.
“War plunder is as old as war itself! Right from Biblical times,” he said.
“Not to say I condone it, but that is one of the evils of armed conflict. Developments in laws of war (have been) trying to deal with it, but it persists.”
Gen Sejusa, who at the time of the Congo war of 1996 -2003, was serving as the Presidential Advisor on the DRC, went on to cite a number of famous wars in history, and some as recently as in the last decade, that culminated in plunder.
“After Napoleon triumphed over Venice,1798, he demonstrated his strength by plundering the City-State’s treasures. Genesis tells of the Assyrisn city of Nimrud built by great grandson of Noah. Its treasures were looted and the city destroyed during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.”
Gen Sejusa’s comments come as government seeks to settle the $10billion case with the DRC out of Court, as directed by The Hague court last year.
Last week, the Attorney General William Byaruhanga asked government through parliament to be given Shs 24bn to facilitate negotiations between the two countries, warning that this is the best chance for Uganda to settle this matter.
Byaruhanga further warned that if the case goes back to court, DRC could be awarded a bigger sum of money.
In the initial stages of the out of court negotiations, Byaruhanga says, Uganda offered to pay $150 million, but DRC demanded for $23billion. The talks are expected to carry on up to March this year.
But as the international community piles blame on Uganda as it has done since 2002, Gen Sejusa says it is worth noting that Uganda is not the first to be implicated in such crimes.
“Yes,it’s not exactly honourable, but looting is venerable military tradition,” he said.
“It is the reason Britain is packed with museums, marble, and mummies; they were not donated freely.”
He added, “Where are all African works art, the contents of Egyptian tombs, of the Pharaohs, Khufu, Akhenaten, Ramses; our own Bachwezi Artifacts, iron tools, Enkondo ya Rwakyasha (Ruhuuga) which was uprooted using a helicopter, and other archaeological excavations?”