Archive for category Uganda

Industry Talk: Pseudo Operations And The Relentless Pursuit Of Kony

But then she reminds herself of the numbers. In the past two years, L.R.A. violence has dropped by ninety-three per cent, from seven hundred and six killings in 2010 to only fifty-one in 2012. According to Resolve, a U.S.-based analysis and advocacy group, the L.R.A. had approximately four hundred fighters in 2010; by June, 2013, they were down to a hundred and eighty Ugandan fighters and fifty armed zande—abductees from Congo and the Central African Republic.
“It was only ninety-three per cent because of relentless pursuit,” Davis said. “If we pulled out, that would plummet. I know that is something to celebrate. And if Kony dies a natural death under a mango tree someday, I’m O.K. with that—I know he’ll see justice, as long as he is not hurting kids and women.”
“We don’t need accolades,” Davis told me. “We are not bleeding at the end of the spear, getting pursued by crocodiles and killer bees. The Ugandans are.” And they show no signs of letting up.

Thanks to Adam for sending this one, and a big congrats to Eeben Barlow and his team for all the work they did on this contract. Also, I have much respect for Shannon Sedgwick Davis and her crew for actually taking action and having the courage to contact Eeben and funding this contract. You did the right thing. A hat tip as well to the Ugandan forces who embraced this training and made it work for them out in the field.

What makes this story significant is the fact that pseudo operations was taught to the Ugandan military by a private company, and there are actual tangible results that we can point to after they received this training.  Although I wouldn’t mind seeing a more academic study applied to how much of  an impact pseudo operations really had, it would seem to me that these initial findings are encouraging.

The other really cool aspect of this story is that for those of you that follow the blog and read the discussions I had with Eeben Barlow a couple of years ago about the concept of pseudo operations here and here,  you will quickly realize that in fact, something positive did come about from those conversations. That someone reading those conversations and posts over at his blog, whom actually had the money to fund such a contract, came forth and embraced the idea for the relentless pursuit of Joseph Kony and the destruction of his LRA. Here is a quote referencing how this group came to Eeben via his blog.

Poole had been reading a military and security blog written by Eeben Barlow, who had been a commando and a covert agent for the South African apartheid regime’s most notorious squads. He was also a visionary and a dreamer. Back in 1997, he told me that his goal was to create the best and biggest military consultancy in the world. The private army he founded, Executive Outcomes, hired itself out, in the late nineties, to end civil wars in Sierra Leone and Angola in exchange for lots of cash and access to diamond and oil fields.
Davis went to meet Barlow in South Africa, and, after a family dinner with his wife and son, he told her he would take the job—and that he did not want a fee. He did not want to make money on this, he told her; she would just have to pay his trainers and underwrite his expenses. This was the kind of partner she was looking for.

 Pretty cool. Here is a quote about the pseudo operations training the Ugandan’s received.

The effects of the training were evident. Charles, a lieutenant from West Nile, told me that in the old days they would unleash a thousand bullets every time they encountered the L.R.A. Now, he said, they would wait and track in silence. The South Africans had taught them tactics for crossing rivers with logs and ponchos, how to swim and how to avoid crocodiles, which had killed one soldier and attacked another. “The South Africans taught us ‘pseudo,’ ” Charles said. “You behave like your enemy so you can approach him, or even infiltrate inside the camp. We pleated our hair like they do, put on civilian shirts, uniform pants. Sometimes we went barefoot. We used to travel forty or forty-five in a team; now we can go six.”

Here is the quote about the raid that missed Kony. It certainly hit intel pay dirt though!

In September, 2011, the first special-operations group trained by the South Africans crossed into South Sudan and caught Kony by surprise at a meeting with all his commanders. He escaped, but the Ugandans took back a haul of valuable intelligence: satellite phones, a computer, and diaries. Defectors later revealed that the L.R.A. fighters were baffled by the attack: Was this some new Ugandan army? After the raid, Kony lost contact with his entourage. He roamed the bush alone with one of his pregnant Sudanese wives, and helped deliver her baby—one of probably more than a hundred small Konys now in the world. When he reëmerged, he was so furious that he demoted all his commanders. According to defectors, he had moved to a new camp, in southern Darfur.

And this is what DoS thought about the whole thing.

By the end of 2011, Barlow and his trainers were gone. “Even folks at State and the Department of Defense acknowledged the training Bridgeway offered was very helpful in advancing the Ugandan Army’s capacity,” a Washington-based analyst told me. But they are not yet willing to say so publicly. When I asked a State Department official about the significance of Davis’s work, he refused to comment beyond noting that “the Bridgeway Foundation is an independent organization that does not have an official relationship with the U.S. government.”

So with that said, I think Eeben and his crew deserve a great deal of recognition and thanks for a job well done. He has proven once again that private industry can indeed produce amazing results through innovation, dedication and hard work. That pseudo operations or PO can be taught and it can be effective in some types of warfare. As Sun Tzu would say, ‘all warfare is based on deception’, and PO is an excellent deceptive tactic. –Matt



Shannon Sedgwick Davis.

How a Texas Philanthropist Helped Fund the Hunt for Joseph Kony
October 21, 2013
Posted by Elizabeth Rubin

One night in July, 2010, Shannon Sedgwick Davis, a lawyer and activist from San Antonio, Texas, and the mother of two young boys, found herself seated across from the chief of the Ugandan Army, General Aronda Nyakairima, at his hilltop headquarters, in Kampala. “It was one of those out-of-body experiences,” Davis told me. Davis was on the verge of becoming deeply involved in the campaign to capture Joseph Kony. In the course of a quarter century, Kony abducted tens of thousands of people, mostly children, and conscripted them into the Lord’s Resistance Army (L.R.A.), which was conceived as a Ugandan rebel force but whose primary target has been civilians in several African nations. “I am a full-blown mom, sitting here with this Ugandan general,” Davis said. “And I can’t believe I have an audience with this man, and that he didn’t write me off as crazy.”
Davis had two questions for Aronda: Would military trainers and communications make it easier for the Ugandan Army to chase down Kony—who is wanted by the International Criminal Court—in the jungles of Congo, the Central African Republic, and Sudan, where he and his commanders have scattered, and, more important to her, rescue the women and children still in his clutches?
Yes and yes, said the general. His eyes looked so tired, Davis recalled, that she hadn’t been sure she had his attention. “You almost want to pry them open so you make sure he’s still listening. But he said they would welcome any assistance, and that it was their problem to solve.” It was late, and in that first meeting Aronda seemed unsure what to make of this passionate, small blond woman from Texas. But the meetings persisted. Together, they began to map out what the general wanted and the guarantees that Davis would require from the Ugandans before embarking on an unorthodox venture: the charitable organization she heads, the Bridgeway Foundation, would hire private military contractors to train an African army.

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Military News: US Sends Military Advisers To Africa To Hunt Down Joseph Kony And The LRA!

Yes! This is a mission that just makes sense and I will be cheering it on all the way. It is about time and hopefully these guys can find them and eliminate them. Especially since Invisible Children has set up a communications network to give a voice to the people.

Perhaps that will be a big focus in the beginning, and that would be to upgrade the communications networks and even expand them throughout all of the villages.  That map I posted shows exactly the areas that the LRA is at, and the more updates and data coming in from that network, the better. Couple that with some of the toys that these advisers will have, and I am hoping that this mission won’t take long.

But who knows?  The LRA are some serious jungle dwellers, and have survived this long. Personally, I could care less how long it takes, because this is one of those deals that should have been taken care of a long time ago. It is worth the push and it is worth the effort. –Matt


Obama sends military advisers to central Africa
By Matt Spetalnick and Laura MacInnis
Oct 14, 2011
President Barack Obama said on Friday he was sending about 100 U.S. troops to central Africa to help and advise government forces battling Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebels accused of murder, rape and kidnapping children.
Obama — who once denounced the LRA as an “affront to human dignity” — made clear the troops would serve as trainers and advisers in efforts to hunt down rebel leader Joseph Kony and would not engage in combat except in self-defense.
In a letter to Congress, Obama said the first U.S. forces arrived in Uganda on Wednesday and would be deployed to South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo “subject to the approval of each respective host nation.”
Obama’s decision commits U.S. forces to help confront a rebel group that has drawn international condemnation for decades of chilling violence, including hacking body parts off victims and the abduction of young boys to fight and young girls for use as sex slaves.
While the U.S. military has maintained a large base in Djibouti since 2003, the latest mission marks an expanded role in conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa by putting U.S. troops in the field to support local forces in direct combat with insurgents.

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Industry Talk: Ugandan PSC’s Eye Business In Somalia After AMISOM Victories

Now this is a very interesting development. All of these security contractors from Uganda that have participated in such programs like TWISS in Iraq, are now looking at Somalia as the next market for security contracts. Which makes total sense, and especially since there is a massive pool of Ugandan security contractors created by their efforts in Iraq.

Uganda is also a huge contributor of forces for AMISOM, so it would only be fair that their country’s PSC’s would have a crack at any contracts in Somalia. I would imagine Burundi would also be interested in entering the reconstruction market in Somalia as well. Uganda has also lost 57 plus troops in the war, and Burundi has lost 78. But the real market of force would come out of Uganda.

This pool of security contractors are also trained to western standards, with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they could be an excellent tool to use for Somalia’s reconstruction plans. But like the article mentioned below, if the gains made by AMISOM are lost, then there really is no chance of PSC’s coming in. We will see how it goes? –Matt


Ugandans eye businesses in Somalia
By John Semakula
12th September, 2011
THE business community in Uganda received the news of AMISOM’s recent victory against the al-Shabaab militants in Mogadishu with a smile of hope. ?The community had long wanted to venture into Somalia but the insecurity in the country had hindered it. ?When news emerged that the AU peacekeepers had secured 90% of Mogadishu from the militants, managers of various companies in Uganda started drawing business plans for Somalia.

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Industry Talk: U.S. Pledges More Support To Battle Somali Rebels

“We have reviewed since Sunday the support that we’re providing to Amisom. We are going to beef that up,” Mr. Crowley said. “We’ve been the major contributor to the Amisom mission. That won’t change.”

The U.S. State Department, under a program known as Africap, provides funding for private contractors to train, outfit, transport and supply African troops in various peacekeeping missions. The State Department’s latest contract, which began in September 2009, provides $1.5 billion to private contractors to outfit Amisom and other troops. 


     This is the part of the article I clued in on.  I imagine ‘beef that up’ equates to more money for the AFRICAP program, and similar programs.  So it will be interesting to see if any new changes come down the pipe.

     If you follow what is going on with Somalia right now, things are happening quickly, that will lead to the reality of more troops from throughout the region joining the AMISOM mission.  My question though is that will these troops be professional enough to do the job, or will they do more harm than good and bring more support to Al Shabab?

     Hopefully with this beefing up process, we also send some folks in there that can assist in organizing and helping along these new troops.  Unfortunately, if what happened to Ethiopia is any clue as to how all this will go down, then these new armies have a lot of work cut out for them. I wish them well though, and I certainly hope they can stick it to the Al Shaboob. –Matt


U.S. Pledges More Support to Battle Somali Rebels

July 16, 2010

By WILL CONNORS in Kampala, Uganda, and KEITH JOHNSON in Washington

The Obama administration on Thursday said it would bolster its support to the African Union troops providing much of the firepower in Somalia’s battle against al Shabaab, the Somali militant group that has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s deadly blasts in Uganda.

The triple bombing in Kampala, Uganda’s capital, killed 76 people, including one American, gathered in a restaurant and a bar during Sunday’s World Cup soccer final.

Ugandan officials say they believe more than 20 members of Somalia’s al Shabaab militant group entered Uganda several months before the blasts. Ugandan authorities have arrested nine people, all Somalis, in connection with the attack since Monday, according to a Ugandan military official close to the investigation.

Uganda is part of an African Union force that launched an offensive early this month, alongside Somalia’s government, against al Shabaab militants who control large swaths of largely lawless Somalia.

An Al Shabaab leader on Thursday thanked its militants who carried out the weekend attacks and said more such attacks would be carried out in Uganda. “I say to the Ugandan president what has happened in Kampala was only the beginning. We will keep revenging what your soldiers remorselessly did to our people,” Sheik Muktar Abu Zubayr said in an audio message played on Mogadishu radio stations, according to the Associated Press.

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Uganda: Uganda Enlists Former LRA To Hunt And Kill LRA

   Another awesome article by Mr. Gettleman.  This is great news and I wonder if the Ugandan military is reading FJ?  Because if they are, then they more than likely got this idea about turning the enemy from all the stuff I have posted on pseudo operations and the Selous Scouts. Whomever gave them the idea, good job.

   With that said, I would highly recommend to the Ugandan military to also give these former rebels as much support and training as possible.  They have a unique knowledge base about the prey they are going after, and if they have the right tools and support, they could easily gain the edge on any LRA troopers they come across.

    Each of these hunter killer teams should also have Ugandan special forces attached with them.  That way, any kind of CAS that Uganda can bring to the fight, could be called up by trusted SF guys.  Or SF handlers could help to coordinate blocking forces, so they could actually entrap LRA groups. Even AFRICOM could provide assistance with a UAV or two. At the least, Uganda should be studying exactly how the Selous Scouts in Rhodesia conducted their programs. Very cool, and I hope they get that bastard Joseph Kony. –Matt


Uganda Enlists Former Rebels to End a War

April 10, 2010


OBO, Central African Republic — The night is inky, the helicopters are late and Cmdr. Patrick Opiyo Makasi sits near a dying cooking fire on a remote army base, spinning his thoughts into the darkness.

“It was either them or me,” Commander Makasi said of the countless people he has killed. “Them or me.”

The Lord’s Resistance Army, a notoriously brutal rebel group, snatched him from a riverbank when he was 12 years old, more than 20 years ago, and trained him to burn, pillage and slaughter. His name, Makasi, means scissors in Kiswahili, and fellow soldiers said he earned it by shearing off ears and lips.

But now he has a new mission: hunting down his former boss.

In an unorthodox strategy that could help end this seemingly pointless war, the Ugandan Army is deploying special squads of experienced killers to track down the L.R.A.’s leader, Joseph Kony, one of the most wanted men in Africa, who has been on the run for two decades.

These soldiers, like Commander Makasi, are former L.R.A. fighters themselves, and just about all of them were abducted as children. They recently surrendered and are now wading through black rivers and head-high elephant grass across three of the most troubled countries in the world — the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan — where the last remnants of the L.R.A. are believed to be hiding. They say they know all of Mr. Kony’s tricks.

Some critics may not think this wise, putting so much trust in men whose moral compass had been turned upside down for so long.

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Africa: East Africa Oil, AFRICOM Is In Position, And 10,000 Ugandans With Iraq Experience Are Ready

   This is a quick one I wanted to put out.  I was talking with friends the other day about the Ugandans in Iraq, and how significant their work is to the economy of Uganda.  The money brought in from security work, surpasses what is made off their chief export called coffee, and that is pretty significant.  So the question is, what happens when the work dries up in Iraq?  All of these Ugandan guards are going to be looking for work, and most of the security work in Afghanistan is going to the local nationals.

   So this is what I am starting to piece together, and I am going to take a guess as to where all these guards are going to go next.  I think the plan all along was to professionalize Ugandans for a whole slew of tasks that AFRICOM and the west has in mind for East Africa.  From dealing with Jihadists in Somalia with the AU force, to providing recruits for the Ugandan Army so they can deal with the LRA and others, to protecting this new ‘hot oil zone’ in East Africa.  Ugandans are gonna be in high demand, and we have effectively trained them up with the work in Iraq. Intentional or not, I thought it was interesting to make the connection for the big picture.

   This is not to say that this was the official strategy of the US and AFRICOM all along.  But you have to look at these three stories below, and not think ‘how convenient’?  lol The coming resource war is all about securing our place at the oil trough and making sure there are competent forces to protect that stuff. Thanks to Iraq, we now have a ton of ready made guards or ‘soldiers’ to make that happen.  Let me know what you guys think. –Matt

Edit: 06/11/2010- This is an excellent run down of the current dynamics of oil in this East Africa region.  Good job to Jody.

Uganda’s recent oil discovery has the chance to reshape relations with its neighbors and the West as energy multinationals eye potential opportunities

By Jody Ray Bennett for ISN Security Watch


East Africa is next hot oil zone

March. 10, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 10 (UPI) — East Africa is emerging as the next oil boom following a big strike in Uganda’s Lake Albert Basin. Other oil and natural gas reserves have been found in Tanzania and Mozambique and exploration is under way in Ethiopia and even war-torn Somalia.

The region, until recently largely ignored by the energy industry, is “the last real high-potential area in the world that hasn’t been fully explored,” says Richard Schmitt, chief executive officer of Dubai’s Black Marlin Energy, which is prospecting in East Africa.

The discovery at Lake Albert, in the center of Africa between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, is estimated to contain the equivalent of several billion barrels of oil. It is likely to be the biggest onshore field found south of the Sahara Desert in two decades.

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