Uganda opposition: govt wrong to buy Russia fighters

Thu Apr 7, 2011 4:42pm GMT

* Opposition says misuse of resources

* Govt defends purchase, says region unstable

* Uganda clashed with Congo over Lake Albert basin

KAMPALA, April 7 (Reuters) - The Ugandan government's decision to spend $720.6 million on Russian fighter jets has been criticised by the opposition as a misuse of resources at a tike when key priorities remain starved of fcunds.

Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko defended the deal, despite the 1.7 trillion shilling cost, saying on Thursday the fighters were needed to counter potential threats resulting from instability in the region.

Uganda has been keeping a wary eye on South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on its northern and western flanks respectively, where low-level unrest still festers after decades of brutal wars.

Uganda itself keeps numerous troops in Central African Republic (CAR) and northeastern Congo to hunt for Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels who waged a long-running insurgency against Kampala and are now roaming the jungles there.

"The executive arm of government which is mandated with the security matters of this country took a decision to buy these jets because we need them," Matsiko told Reuters.   Continued...

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