The UPDF has denied as untrue, reports that Maj. Gen.Francis Okello is a bad health condition in Ethiopia and that he needs to return home.
The Observer quoting an unnamed sourced had reported on Wednesday that Okello is stranded in Adis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital due to his deteriorating health condition and is unable to return home due to the Coronavirus lockdown.
“Can you imagine Maj Gen Francis Okello of the African Union Commission is in bad health and wants to return but has not been granted an opportunity?” the Observe wrote.
However, the army spokesperson, Brig. Richard Karemire has dismissed the reports as untrue.
Maj Gen Francis Okello is healthy at his station in Addis Ababa contrary to reports in The Observer newspaper released today, May 27, 2020. The General is part of a team overseeing AU Mandated Peace Support Operations including AMISOM with 20,000 troops, G5 Sahel Joint Force operating in Mali with 5,000 troops,”Brig.Karemire told the Nile Post.
“These Missions must be supported and sustained as key management decisions are made by the African Union Commission, sometimes on a daily basis. He is the focal person at the Peace and Security Department on AMISOM and G5 Sahel Joint Force operational issues, and is therefore needed on a full-time basis. AU Peace and Security Council recently considered and renewed the Mandates of G5 Sahel Joint Force in April and of AMISOM on May 7, 2020.”
Escorting the message with current photos depicting the senior UPDF officer in the field, the army spokesperson said the task currently handled by Maj.Gen. Francis Okello is a critical one with “scheduled timelines” that must be met and that he continues to actively participate in them.
“His name, and by inference the UPDF, should therefore not be drawn into any negative writing and propaganda by any section of the media. Family and friends should not be anxious over such false stories.”
Maj.Gen. Francis Okello was the second commander of the AMISOM troops in Somalia and served between March 2008 and July 2009.