KARAMOJA, UGANDA: The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) third division commander, Brig Gen Joseph Balikudembe has left the Karamoja sub-region as he prepares to undergo a strategic course at National Defence College-Uganda.
Gen Balikudembe is among the Generals and Senior Officers who were recently nominated and announced by the UPDF strategic leadership to undertake the prestigious course at National Defence College, Uganda (NDC-U) Intake 02.
“I am so proud and happy for this rare gesture extended to me by the strategic leadership in my career development. I can’t wait as this has been my lifetime dream,” said the excited Gen who has commanded and controlled the Division covering greater Eastern Uganda since 2019.
During his tenure as the Division Commander and chairperson of the disarmament committee, Brig Gen Balikudembe is credited for overall command, control and coordination in the conduct of disarmament operations making significant strides with 1,128 and 11,177 guns and ammunition recovered respectively since 2019.
He will be remembered for overseeing one of the most recent (April 2023) bloodless operations against the Turkana armed pastoralists where the joint security forces recovered 31 guns at Lokiriaut village, Nadunget Subcouty in Moroto district.
The joint security concept notes that if it was not for rearmament stemming from the neighbors (Turkana, Pokot and Toposa) criminal elements who trade in small arms proliferation, the security situation would be much better and desirable.
Gen Balikudembe leaves at a time when local leaders through inter-district security meetings are on board in the fight against the criminality of armed cattle rustling.
As he spearheaded the security mobilization, the resolutions and outcome are bringing about peaceful co-existence among the Karamojongo, Iteso, Bagisu and Sabin communities. As a result of various security meetings, tension among some local leaders who used not to see eye to eye has been diffused. Relatedly, some livestock recoveries are being made by the locals themselves without the involvement of security forces.
On the other hand, Gen Balikudembe is well known for having no compromise with some local leaders who would plead for the premature release of their relatives caught committing crimes.
Brig Gen Balikudembe has been instrumental in cross-border security engagement and mechanisms with Turkana County leadership to end gun violence and foster harmonious co-existence among the pastoralist communities.
The UPDF strategic leadership looks forward to seeing smooth continuity of the disarmament operations in the Karamoja Sub-region.
National Defence College – Uganda (NDC-U) is the highest military institution of learning in Uganda where policy analysis and ground strategy formulation for strategic security, stability and prosperity take place. The course is a career undertaking in leadership development and is done by commanders identified to take on key positions and responsibilities in Government and other institutions.
However, it was not yet known if Brig Balikuddembe would be redeployed to Karamoja after the training following earlier calls from both Karamoja and Teso leaders to the president to change guard for the third division army leadership.
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