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Country Reports
UGANDA , Landmine Monitor Report 2000
LM Report 2000 Full Report   Executive Summary   Key Findings   Key Developments   Translated Country Reports


Key developments since March 1999: The Mine Ban Treaty entered into force for Uganda on 1 August 1999. There have been allegations of Ugandan use of mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in the June 2000 battle for Kisangani. Uganda denies any use. There is evidence of use of antipersonnel mines in 1999 and early 2000 by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels entering Uganda from Sudan. There is no organized mine clearance underway in Uganda, but mine awareness activities are better coordinated and expanding. Mine casualties dropped significantly in 1999. Uganda has not submitted its Article 7 report, due on 28 January 2000.

Mine Ban Policy

Uganda signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and submitted its instrument of ratification to the UN on 25 February 1999. The treaty thus entered into force for Uganda on 1 August 1999. The government has not yet put implementation legislation in place. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under Ugandan law, the treaty is merely persuasive and not binding until domestic legislation has been passed.[1] Landmine Monitor was informed that the treaty has been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs for incorporation into domestic law, but the process is a long one, passing first through the cabinet and then to parliament for enactment.[2] No timetable was given for this process.[3]

Uganda participated in the First Meeting of States Parties in Maputo, Mozambique on 3-7 May 1999. The government has not participated in any of the intersessional meetings of the Standing Committees of Experts of the MBT. NGOs and other agencies in the country have been actively involved in promoting ratification and effective implementation and monitoring of the treaty.[4]

Uganda’s Article 7 Report to the UN was due on 28 January 2000. The Ministry of Defense is responsible for preparing the report, then providing it to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[5]

Uganda voted for December 1999 UN General Assembly resolution 54/54 B promoting the treaty, as it had on past pro-ban UNGA resolutions in 1996, 1997, and 1998.

The government is a party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons but has not ratified its Amended Protocol II (1996).[6] Uganda is not a member of the Conference on Disarmament.

Production, Transfer, and Stockpiling

Uganda claims to have stopped production of AP mines and to have destroyed all AP mines manufactured at the government-owned National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) at Nakasongora.[7] Brigadier Ivan Koreta, Director General, Internal Security Organization (ISO), and Lt. Katsigazi in December 1999 affirmed that the production line at NEC has been completely converted into production of dry cell batteries. An independent inspection of the facility has yet to be made, and to date, the batteries have not been introduced into the market nor is their brand name known.[8]

According to the U.S. State Department, NEC, “built with aid from China's Wabao Engineering Corporation, makes ammunition and small arms. Uganda claims it stopped production of landmines in 1995, but reports persist that the factory still produces them and provides them to consumers in the Central Africa/Great Lakes region.”[9] Landmine Monitor is unaware of any reports of continued production of AP mines.

Previous imports of AP mines were from various sources including Russia and Korea.[10] Military officials say that a large quantity of AP mines and UXOs have been gathered from different army units around the country by the UPDF and transferred to Jinja Army Depot for storage pending destruction.[11] In January 2000, it was reported that an unidentified Ugandan official said that there are 50,000 AP mines stockpiled and that their destruction has begun.[12] The military is reportedly seeking assistance in destroying this stockpile because it lacks the capacity to do so.[13]

Government Use

The Commander-in-Chief of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) has issued an order to all UPDF unit commanders prohibiting the use of AP mines.[14] A Ugandan official has stated to Landmine Monitor that the UPDF is not using AP mines against the various rebel groups that operate out of Sudan (Lord’s Resistance Army-LRA, Uganda National Rescue Front-UNRF, West Nile Bank Front-WNBF) or the Allied Democratic Front (ADF), which operates from the Democratic Republic of Congo.[15] There has been no credible evidence that the government has used mines inside Uganda.[16]

In 1999 and 2000 the Namibian Defense Ministry and others accused Uganda of laying mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).[17] There were reports of use of mines in June 2000 in the hostilities between Rwanda and Uganda over the city of Kisangani, held by the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) forces. (See Landmine Monitor Report 2000--Democratic Republic of Congo). A UN official told Landmine Monitor that Uganda and Rwanda had both used mines in the fighting over Kisangani.[18] The RCD rebels claim that Rwandan and Ugandan troops left more than 4,000 antipersonnel landmines in the town after clashing there from 5-11 June, but state that they have found most of the mines close to a former Ugandan army base on the road to Bangoka airport.[19] These accusations have not been verified.

In December 1999, military officers interviewed for this report insisted that the UPDF is under strict instructions against the use of AP mines.[20]

It is uncertain if Congolese rebels who collaborate with UPDF use antipersonnel mines. The ICBL has expressed concern that a Mine Ban Treaty State Party, such as Uganda, may be violating the treaty by virtue of participating in a joint military operation with another entity, such as Congolese rebels, that uses antipersonnel mines in that operation. Under Article 1 of the Mine Ban Treaty, a State Party may not “under any circumstance...assist, encourage or induce, in any way, anyone to engage in any activity that is prohibited to a State Party under this Convention.”

Uganda should make clear the nature of its support for other armed forces that may be using antipersonnel mines, and make clear its views with regard to the legality under the Mine Ban Treaty of its joint military operations with these armed forces. As a party to the treaty, Uganda should state categorically that it will not participate in joint operations with any force that uses antipersonnel mines.

Rebel Use

Landmine Monitor obtained eyewitness accounts of the use of AP mines by the LRA and ADF rebels during 1999 and in January-February 2000. Landmine Monitor research in Gulu District suggests that the LRA were using AP mines to avenge attacks on their families and relatives.[21] Local media also reported new use of mines by rebels infiltrating Gulu and Kitgum Districts in December 1999 and February 2000. In one incident, four people were injured by AP mines in Ngotoo Park, Kitgum District, as they were returning to the Lacekot Camp for IDPs after collecting food.[22]

Police and UPDF sources based in Gulu also reported that during a new incursion of LRA rebels from Sudan in February 2000, unknown quantities of AP mines were brought over the border and subsequently used by the rebels. Survivors were reportedly being admitted to hospitals in Gulu and Kitgum Districts. They also reported that the rebels had brought with them new types of AP mines, which they claimed had wounded some rebels trying to lay them because they were unfamiliar with the devices.[23]

In February 2000, UPDF Major-General Jeje Odongo reported that his forces had killed twenty-six LRA rebels and captured twenty-eight others with an assortment of weapons including twenty-five AT mines and AP mines during a December incursion.[24]

On 16 January 2000, UPDF and police captured two SPLA (Sudan People’s Liberation Movement) commanders in Arua town in northwestern Uganda in a raid that had been prompted by finding two antipersonnel mines in an Arua township villages two weeks earlier.[25]

On 11 June 2000, the Ugandan army reported killing six LRA rebels in the northern part of the country who were attempting to cross back into Sudan with a number of Ugandan villagers who had been abducted by the rebels. Weapons, including four antipersonnel mines, were recovered in the operation.[26]

Mine Action Funding

A number of organizations are indirectly contributing to humanitarian mine action.[27] These include the Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), UNICEF, WHO, World Vision, Save the Children-Denmark, International Service Volunteers Association (AVSI), Jesuit Refugee Service, National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU), Action Aid, and Medicines sans Frontiers. Government departments are also involved.[28]

The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), through the Canadian Network for Injury Survey (CNIS), contributed US$66,000 to the Injury Control Center-Uganda (ICC-U) for two years in 1999 for mine awareness, first aid training, landmine situation analysis, and anthropological research on landmines in Gulu and Arua districts. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) made a contribution of US$5,000 for a landmine injury survey, mine awareness, training, and victim assistance (1999-2000) through AMHEC (IPPNW-Uganda). In addition the Charity Project, through MAG (UK), provided US$3,500 to AMHEC for strengthening the Uganda Campaign to Ban Landmines (UCBL) and for its mine awareness education.

At present there is no policy, strategy, or practice concerning allocation and use of mine action funds or in-kind contributions. However, some of the NGOs and Ministry of Health have formed an informal committee on landmines, chaired by the Ministry of Health, which plans to use donated funds in a transparent and coordinated manner.

Uganda has not directly received any funding or in-kind contributions for mine action programs. There is no domestic budget for mine action.[29] At present it is not possible to quantify the need because the magnitude of the landmine problem is not completely known; the situation is complicated by the fact that the LRA uses mines in a random fashion and thus any specific mined areas are unknown. No survey has been carried out to assess the problem.[30]

Mine Clearance

A special unit of the mechanized battalion of the UPDF carries out mine clearance whenever an area is suspected to have a mine problem.[31] There is no on-going survey, marking or clearing of mines, and at present there is no national mine clearance plan or mine clearance priorities. Some important areas like roads have been cleared.[32] According to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, the Ugandan military acquired a Chubby mine clearing vehicle from South Africa in 1999.[33]

Mine Awareness

The main mine action operations in Uganda are coordinated by the Uganda Campaign to Ban Landmines (UCBL) and the Ministry of Health and mainly are programs for mine awareness and victim assistance. The cooperative effort between the UCBL and Ministry of Health has a loose mandate to coordinate the relevant organizations. The Ministry of Health coordinates first aid training, and continuing medical care and rehabilitation activities. Both the UCBL and the Ministry of Health are responsible for all affected areas in the country but do not have specific funding for coordination.[34]

Mine awareness or risk education programs are under way in the country. Mine awareness is being undertaken by NGOs, including AMHEC, Injury Control Center Uganda (ICC-U), Uganda National Association of Community and Occupational Health (UNACOH), AVSI, URCS, the UN field office, and the ICRC, as well as the UPDF and various ministries.[35] These projects are in the mine-affected districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Kasese, Bundibugyo and Fort Portal. The ICC-U, IPPNW, ICRC, and AVSI fund the NGO programs, and the government funds the UPDF and Ministry of Health programs. The UN country office also funds a limited training program on mine awareness.

Mine awareness programs initially were not well coordinated and targeted, but currently activities are coordinated and targeted toward communities and displaced people most at risk. So far twenty mine awareness educators have been trained for Gulu and thirteen for Kitgum districts. Funds allowing, it is planned to have 125 trainers for Gulu District and 100 trainers for Kitgum District, by the end of August 2000, to train more groups of people as mine awareness educators at the grassroots level.

This coordinated program has also used the print and electronic media. Awareness messages have been prepared, translated into the local language (Luo) and field-tested, and have been printed on posters, ready for distribution throughout the two main affected districts. The printing was paid for by UNICEF.

The actual number of people who have received mine awareness education is not known. The coordinated programs adhere to both National and International guidelines, such as those of UNICEF. A preliminary mine awareness assessment was conducted by ICC-Uganda in July and August 1999 among communities in Gulu district prior to mine awareness activities, which indicated low levels of mine awareness and negative attitudes to mine victims. Post-program evaluation is contemplated.

Landmine Casualties

Many people have been killed and maimed by AP mines especially in northern (Kitgum, Gulu and Adjumani districts) and western Uganda (Kasese district), but there is no centralized information about the number of mine victims.[36] At the Gulu Orthopedic Workshop, which was rehabilitated by the Italian NGO AVSI and handed over to the Ugandan Ministry of Health, 201 out of the 622 amputee patients recorded by November 1999 were landmine victims.[37]

Landmine Monitor Report 1999 had reported a decreasing trend in mine victims in Kitgum and Gulu districts between 1996-1998.[38] During 1999 it appears that the number of landmine casualties has continued to decrease. A survey was carried out in the affected districts covering the period between January 1999 and April 2000. In Kitgum hospital no new mine injuries were recorded between March and December 1999.[39] According to Dr. J.J. Kilama, Acting Medical Superintendent at Gulu hospital, no new mine casualties were reported there between March and December 1999.[40] This was corroborated by the UN country report.

Although no new mine victims were treated in the district hospitals of Kitgum and Gulu by December 1999, Landmine Monitor received information from the local community and health staff that a few isolated mine incidents occurred during the early part of 1999 in remote areas on the border with Sudan, and the victims died before getting medical attention.[41]

The reduction in mine incidents may be because most of the people in the two districts have been living in protected villages;[42] also, rebel activities have declined in the past two years. Data gathered by the Landmine Monitor from Kasese district, where ADF rebels are most active, showed a decline in casualties too: from seventeen casualties in 1997 and twenty-eight in 1998, to only one in 1999.[43] A few cases were reported from Kabarole and Bundibugyo districts in 1998, but none in 1999.[44]

In the West Nile region (north-western Uganda) in Arua, Moyo, Adjumani and Nebbi districts the pattern is the same, with very few new mine casualties 1999 (i.e., at Arua Hospital three, Nebbi Hospital one, and none from Angal, Adjumani and Moyo Hospitals, but Moyo Hospital did report two cases involving antitank mines). Also according to records from the two military hospitals at Bombo and Mbuya, no new AP mine casualties were reported in 1999.

Casualty figures increased after 22 December 1999, when a group of about some 200 LRA rebels crossed back into Kitgum and Gulu districts in Uganda from Sudan and started terrorizing civilians, resulting in new casualties being reported and property destroyed.[45]

One of the victims, Mika Otto[46] a teacher in Lacekot sub-county, Kitgum district, died and another victim, James Odok, 42, was hospitalized in Gulu Hospital with his right foot blown off, plus multiple wounds on his buttocks and his left foot.[47] There was another incursion of the LRA from Sudan in February 2000 according to local NGOs based in Gulu. The total number of people wounded or killed by mines is not known but is small compared to the population of the areas affected and Uganda overall.

Survivor Assistance

The rights of the disabled are protected by Uganda's Constitution and eight disability laws.[48] Funding of health care and medical treatment in Uganda for the disabled comes either directly from the government or through donations through government ministries.[49] Additionally, there is an inter-ministerial committee on disability, which involves three ministries: the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development; and the Ministry of Education and Sports; the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda (NUDIPU) serves as the secretary of the committee. Also, a National Disability Council, which is to coordinate all disability efforts in the country, is being established through legislation that is about to be presented to the parliament.

The Uganda Veterans Assistance Board (UVAB) is an association of veteran soldiers that works with the government. It has a medical rehabilitation program for soldiers who get disabled during war. The victims can obtain assistance through a program funded by the Danish International Development Association. The UPDF has a casualty unit in Mubende specifically for disabled soldiers and a smaller one in Nakasongola. The Ministry of Defense also has its own military hospitals at Mbuya, Gulu and Bombo, where the government funds services for the disabled soldiers.

Orthopedic workshops, such as those in Mulago, Mbale, Gulu, Fort Portal, and Mbarara University produce devices for the disabled, which must be paid for by the individuals who need them. While services for the disabled are quite costly, they can receive a fifty percent subsidy through NUDIPU, the Government, and and other organizations.


[1] Interview with Mrs. Eunice Kigenyi Irungu, Foreign Service Officer, Legal Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Kampala, 19 December 1999.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Interview with Mrs. E.K. Irungu, MOFA, Kampala, 27 April 2000.
[4] This includes UNICEF, URCS, IPPNW- Uganda, AVSI, UNACOH, and SCF-Norway.
[5] Interview with Mrs. E.K. Irungu, MOFA, Kampala, 27 April 2000.
[6] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 90-96.
[7] Interview with Brig. Ivan Koreta, Director General, International Security Organization (ISO), and Lt. Katsigazi, Kampala, 23 December 1999.
[8] Ibid.
[9] “Arms Flows to Central Africa/Great Lakes,” Fact Sheet released by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State, November 1999, available at: www.state.gov/www/global/arms/bureau_pm/fs_9911_armsflows.html.
[10] Interview with Brig. Ivan Koreta and Lt. Katsigazi, Kampala, 23 December 1999.
[11] Ibid.
[12] The East African, 19 January 2000.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Interview with Brig. Ivan Koreta, and Lt. Katsigazi, Kampala, 23 December 1999.
[15] Interview with Mrs. E.K. Irungu , Kampala, 19 December 1999.
[16] Interviews in March and April 2000 with local people and leaders in Gulu during mine awareness workshops.
[17] The East African, 17-23 January 2000.
[18] Telephone interview with UN official in Kisangani, 28 July 2000.
[19] “Rebels say more than 4,000 Mines Left in Kisangani,” AFP (Kisangani), 21 July 2000, in FBIS.
[20] Interview with Brig. Ivan Koreta and Lt. Katsigazi, Kampala, 23 December 1999.
[21] Patricia Spittal, Canadian Network for International Surgery/ICC- Uganda, views from group discussions, (unpublished data).
[22] Community-based NGOs in Gulu and Kitgum districts and local leaders stated that the LRA planted these mines.
[23] These reports have been supported by various sources from Kitgum and Gulu districts, for example, participants who have been attending mine awareness education workshops in Gulu town (March and April, 2000). See, Patricia Spittal, (unpublished data) - District & Community Leaders, Medical workers, Mass Media (December 1999 - April 2000, Gulu).
[24] Justin Moro and J. Oweka, “Sudan Relocates Kony Camp,” New Vision, 3 February 2000.
[25] “Uganda: Northwest officials to send suspected Sudanese rebel commanders home,” The Monitor (newspaper), as reported by BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 22 January 2000.
[26] “Uganda army kills rebel guerrillas,” Reuters (Kampala), 11 June 2000.
[27] “Indirect” support refers to the fact that some organizations assist mine victims and/or affected communities through their primary activities, which have not been specifically targeting mine victims.
[28] These include Gender, Labor and Social Development, Disaster Preparedness and Defense and Health. Interview with Mrs. M. A. Nadimo, Ministry of Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, Kampala, 21 December 1999.
[29] Interview with Mrs. M.A. Nadimo, Ministry of Refugees & Disaster Preparedness, Kampala, 21 December 1999; interview with Peter Oyaro, Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Kampala, 20 December 1999.
[30] Faxed messages from Daouda Toure, UN Resident Coordinator; interview with Lt. Katsigazi, ISO, Kampala, 5 December 1999.
[31] Lieutenant Magara, Public Relations Officer, 4th Division, UPDF Gulu, Gulu (town), February 2000.
[32] Faxed messages from Daouda Toure, UN Resident Coordinator; interview with Lt. Katsigazi, ISO, Kampala, 5 December 1999.
[33] The East African, 19 January 2000.
[34] Faxed messages from Daouda Toure, UN-Resident Coordinator; interview with Lt. Katsigazi , Kampala, 5 December 1999.
[35] Ministries of Health, Labor, Gender & Social Development.
[36] Faxed messages from Daouda Toure, UN Resident Coordinator; interview with Lt. Katsigazi, ISO, Kampala, 5 December 1999.
[37] The East African, 19 January 2000.
[38] Landmine Monitor Report 1999, pp. 94-95.
[39] Hospital records – Kitgum, 1999, reviewed in visit during survey period.
[40] Interview with Dr. J.J.Kilama, Acting Medical Superintendent, Gulu Hospital, during survey period.
[41] Interviews with medical personnel, Kitgum, during survey period; Daouda Toure, UN Resident Coordinator.
[42] Protected villages are camps for the internally displaced protected by security forces.
[43] Hospital records, Kagando Hospital, Kilembe Hospital, St. John's Ambulance, Kasese, reviewed in visit during survey period.
[44] Virika Hospital, Kaborole Hospital, DDHs-Kabarole, Fort Portal Orthopedic Workshop, visited during survey period.
[45] New Vision, 2 January 2000; The Daily Monitor, 4 January 2000.
[46] The Daily Monitor, 4 January 2000.
[47] Ibid.
[48] Uganda Constitution and various acts of Parliament.
[49] Interview with Benson Ndeziboneye, NUDIPU, Kampala, 4 January 2000; interview with Peter Oyaro, Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Kampala, 20 December 1999.