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Uganda: Foreign Assistance in the 1980s
Country Study > Chapter 5 > National Security > Foreign Military Assistance > Foreign Assistance in the 1980s

FOREIGN ASSISTANCE IN THE 1980S


Tanzanian influence increased after Amin's departure. The TPDF maintained about 20,000 troops in Uganda to help restore peace. In addition, Tanzanian soldiers managed a large-scale army training program at Mbarara. By mid-1980, however, tension between TPDF personnel and southern Ugandans, especially Baganda, prompted Dar es Salaam to withdraw about one-half of its troops. Despite this decision and continuing clashes between Tanzanian troops and Ugandan citizens, President Nyerere then agreed to deploy a 1,000-man police unit to Uganda. By mid-1982, Nyerere further reduced Tanzania's military presence, citing the high cost of maintaining troops in Uganda. When the training missions of the remaining 800 troops were hampered by misunderstandings and delays, they, too, were withdrawn.

Relations with Britain gradually improved after 1980, when Milton Obote began his second term as president, this time emphasizing private-sector development in Uganda's shattered economy. From 1982 until 1984, British soldiers in the Commonwealth Military Training Mission trained approximately 4,000 Ugandan Army recruits. On August 19, 1984, Kampala and London signed a military training agreement that increased the British presence from thirteen to twenty men.

After a good-will visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) in 1981, Obote signed a cooperation agreement covering a variety of technical, economic, and cultural areas. P'yngyang agreed to deploy a military team of thirty officers to Uganda, primarily to manage maintenance projects and infantry training in Gulu. During the 1980s, the North Korean officers often led UNLA combat units in the field against antigovernment guerrillas; such operations reportedly claimed the lives of at least three North Koreans. The North Korean contingent left Uganda in September 1985, a few months after the military coup that deposed Obote.

Ugandan-Tanzanian relations improved after Museveni came to power in 1986, and Tanzanian military assistance resumed. In late 1986, about thirty military advisers replaced a British Military Advisory Training Team that had left Uganda. In January 1987, a British representative returned to Uganda with a small, nonresident training team, and a substantial, although unknown, number of Tanzanians remained to serve as advisers and trainers. Between 1988 and 1990, Tanzanian instructors managed portions of Uganda's basic training program. In addition, many NRA troops studied at Tanzania's National Military Leadership Academy in Monduli and the School of Infantry in Nachingwea.

Libya, which provided weapons to the NRA before it seized power, maintained cordial relations with Kampala after 1986 by furnishing a variety of assistance. In 1986 and 1987, Tripoli was Uganda's main arms supplier, and by early 1988, Libya had delivered an impressive array of weapons, including aircraft, antiaircraft artillery, multiple rocket launchers, and small arms and ammunition. Libyan security assistance declined in late 1988 and 1989, when the extent of Libyan military aid to Uganda was unknown. Estimates of the number of Libyan advisers serving in Uganda in 1989 ranged from several dozen to 3,000; by 1990, however, most western observers believed that the Libyan military presence in Uganda was minimal. Unconfirmed reports accused some Libyans of racism against Ugandans in the NRA, but some military assistance continued, nonetheless.

After 1986 Moscow's relations with Kampala shifted in emphasis. Between 1986 and 1988, the Soviet Union provided more than US$20 million in weapons to the Museveni regime. In November 1988, the Ugandan Ministry of Defense began talks with a Soviet manufacturer to purchase an An-32 transport aircraft, but a year later, the aircraft had not been delivered. By mid-1989, Moscow had halted military aid to Uganda as part of its commitment to reduce its military role in sub-Saharan Africa. Thereafter, Ugandan-Soviet relations concentrated on economic and cultural cooperation.

In the late 1980s, Museveni asked North Korea to return to Uganda to train NRA fighters in the use of North Korean equipment. North Korean advisers helped train Ugandan military, police, and security personnel. Pyongyang also supplied a variety of military assistance. For example, a North Korean consignment of weapons offloaded at Dar es Salaam for transshipment to Uganda in late 1987 included Soviet-built SA-7 surface-to-air missiles, sixty anti-aircraft guns, eight truck-mounted rocket launchers, ten armored personnel carriers, and an unknown amount of ammunition. Similar deliveries of military equipment continued into the early 1990s.

United States relations with Uganda lacked any military emphasis, but several private corporations sold military equipment to Uganda in the late 1980s. Museveni sought to improve ties that had been strained for more than a decade, and in response to these efforts, Washington increased economic assistance to Uganda. In 1990 United States officials implemented an International Military Education and Training (IMET) program that brought Ugandans to the United States for command and staff training, infantry officer courses, medical training, and courses in vehicle maintenance.

Data as of December 1990




Last Updated: December 1990


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Uganda was first published in 1990. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

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