President Yoweri Museveni on Sunday promoted Brig. Lakara Nakibus to the rank of Maj. General and sent him to Mogadishu as the Deputy Force commander -Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Lakara has been the Uganda Peoples' Defence Force-UPDF 3rd Division Commander since July 2013, an area that covers 27 districts in Eastern Uganda. These include South Karamoja's Napak, Moroto, Amudat and Nakapiripirit. Others regions are Sebei, Teso, Bugisu, Bukedi and part of Busoga up to the Nile. However, Brig. Dick Prit Olum has now replaced the seasoned UPDF commander Lakara.
Olum has been a Ugandan contigent commander since last year in Somalia, where he oversaw the liberation of Barawe, an Alshabab stronghold. He recently returned to Uganda.
Presiding over the function at Moroto barracks, the Commander Land Forces Gen. David Muhoozi on Sunday said the third division where Karamoja is part was a very critical area. He explained that the area borders South Sudan and Tanzania in waters of Lake Victoria. He added that Karamoja now faces a post disarmament phase that requires delicate handling.
Muhoozi congratulated Lakara for the new rank and deployment to Somalia. At the same time applauded the in-coming third Division Commander for the appointment as commander. He said Karamoja was still awash with illegal guns and crime remnants asking the new commander not to relax but ensure the sub region is stable and peaceful.
In his handover report Maj. Gen. Lakara outlined several issues that were hampering military operations in Karamoja. Among others he indicated water shortages, land disputes with the neighbours to the military facilities in Mbale, Moroto and Majanji in Busia district. He however, congratulated the President for entrusting him with the new office.
However, Olum was optimistic that he would prevail over the insecurity in Karamoja sub region asking the community to cooperate with the army.
Major General Lakara's new assignment hints that the long serving soldier continues to enjoy the confidence of his Commander-in-Chief President Museveni after his 2004 fall out of grace.
At the height of his troubles, General Lakara was accused of abuse of office, causing financial loss to the force, inflating the army payroll and disobeying lawful orders. He was subsequnently cleared in 2009 but spent eight years undeployed.