Women soldiers in Uganda [UGA35007.E]

During a celebration to mark International Women's Day, President Yoweri Museveni reportedly " inspected a guard of honour led by capt Agnes Namusoke and mounted by women from the UPDF (Uganda People's Defence Forces), Police, Prisons and Local administration Police" (9 Mar. 1999).

AP reported that the Uganda army had captured a woman rebel commander suspected to be a member of the ADF. The woman, Nabakooza, reportedly joined the ADF in 1994 after deserting the Uganda army in which she had served for three years (18 May 1999).

An International Labour Organisation (ILO) report states that when the current government's National Resistance Army (NRA) took over power in 1986, it had 3,000 children under the age of 16 among its ranks and that 500 of them were young girls (1997). The report further states that many of these have since been demobilised and sent into a special children's school. The report does not specify how many of those were women (ibid.).

Several sources state that rebel groups including the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) abduct and recruit child soldiers including young girls (Newsday 11 Oct. 1999; AP 18 May 1999; Child Newsline June 1998; IPS 20 Apr. 1998; Human Rights Watch 1999, 121-123). Apparently the LRA has abducted more than 8,000 since 1994 (News Day 11 Oct. 1999).

About one-third of the LRA's child solders are girls...who in addition to being trained fighters are sex slaves to rebel commanders and have a far more difficult time than boys because of the sexual abuse they suffer ....Communities often are more willing to forgive a male ex-soldier who has killed than a female ex-soldier who has been raped and perhaps left infertile by veneral diseases. Whereas the boy is seen as able to lead a productive life, the girl is viewed as unmarriageable, hence a burden to her family (ibid.)

No statistics of women soldiers in the national army nor the rebel groups' armies could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Human Rights Watch (HRW). 1999. Hostile to Democracy: The Movement System and Political Repression in Uganda. New York: Human Rights Watch.

International Labour Organisation (ILO). 1997. Robby Muhumuza. Guns into Ox-Ploughs: A Study on the Situation of conflict-Affected Youth in Uganda and Their Reintegration into Society Through Training, Employment and Life Skills Programme. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/...ent/skills/training/publ15.htm [Accessed: 2 Aug. 2000]

Inter Press Service (IPS). 20 April 1998. "Rights-Uganda: Former Child Soldiers Nurse the Wounds of War." http://www.oneworld.org/ips2/apr98/12_31_035.html [Accessed: 2 Aug. 2000]

New Vision [Kampala]. 18 May 1999. "Ugandan Army Captures Woman Rebel Commander." (NEXIS)

_____. 9 March 1999. "Museveni Raps Constitution Detractors." (Africa News/NEXIS)

Ottawa Citizen. June 1998. "Child Soldiers: An Upside-Down World." http://www/gn.apc.org/childnewsline/ugandasol.html [Accessed: 2 Aug. 2000]

Newsday. 11 October 1999. Tina Susman. "Children at War/Dual Captivity/Rebel Groups Force Girls into Soldiering and Sex." (NEXIS)

Additional Sources Consulted

Africa Contemporary Record: 1988-1989 Annual Survey and Documents. 1989. Edited by Marion E. Doro and Colin Legum. New York: Africana Publishing Company.

Africa Research Bulletin. 1998-2000.

Amnesty International Report 1998 -1999.

Keesing's Record of World Events. 1998-2000.

The Military Balance 1997/1998.

Resource Centre. Country File. Uganda 1998-2000.

Uganda: A Country Study. 1990. Edited by Rita M. Brynes. Washington, D.C: Secretary of the Army

Internet sites including:

Post Express Wired

African News