Uganda’s military forces have continued to take part in what officials describe as joint ‘battle fitness’ tests amid growing security tensions in the region.
A total of 450 officers and militants under cantonment formation of Nakasongola have undergone and passed mandatory annual battle fitness test code – named “Jjenga Mafupa” in Nakasongola district.
The exercise conducted on Friday came against the backdrop of other fitness tests in different parts of the country including Entebbe where the Special Forces Command headquarters is based.
The defence ministry says the exercises will be annual and geared towards keeping soldiers and commanders physically fit.
But officials say the army leadership is testing the physical and emotional preparedness of soldiers for combat action.
Uganda faces the threat of rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Eastern Congo.
Additionally, the massive deployment of a Division in Eastern Congo by Rwanda Defence Force has since unsettled Kampala.
Relations between Uganda and Rwanda have deteriorated in recent years, with many fearing the prospect of an armed conflict.
In his brief to the troops on Friday, the Motorized Infantry Brigade commander Brig Gen Charles Byanyima emphasized the critical and tactical significance of the exercise.
He said it is to evaluate the “troops’ battle physical fitness levels” and “balance the operational tasks ahead of us.”
Byanyima further said other parameters are employed to gauge “forces’ readiness” on top of clear ideological orientation.
According to deputy army spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki, the tested elements of the exercise included “combat readiness physical capabilities, endurance and team work” among others.
“The participants who were dressed in full battle order, went through 3.2 km run, push-ups, sit-ups and 21Km route match conducted in two separate days,’ said Lt Col Akiiki.
The military exercises have been widely publicized.
Lt Col Akiiki said the implementation of this annual tactical exercise with troops follows official launch of the same by the UPDF leadership early October at the Bombo based Land Forces headquarters.
The participants were drawn from Motorized Infantry Brigade (MOI), Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD), Uganda Air force College (UAFC), Amilcar Carbral Air Borne School, SFC (ACAS).
Others include, Nakasongola Military Hospital (NMH),Luwero Industry Ltd (LIL),Kyoga Dynamics, 40 Marine Battalion, Nakasongola Air force Wing (NAFW), Nakasongola Army secondary School (NASS),Army Primary schools, Directorate of Anti-Aircraft (AAC) and Cantonment.
The Resident District Commissioner Nakasongola Mr Dan Muganga also participated in the test.