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UGANDA

Security Information

Conflict History

Uganda became independent in 1962 from Britain. In 1966 Milton Obote seized the power from the Baganda King who was president with the help of Col Idi Amin, the second –in-command of the army. Amin ousted Obote in 1971. Amin expelled the Asian community and carried out purges in which thousands were killed. In 1979 Idi Amin was ousted by Tanzanian soldiers and the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA). In 1980 Milton Obote again came to power after a dubious electoral process. The National Resistance Army (NRA) was established in 1981 as a guerrilla army by Yoweri Museveni in 1981. After a coup in July 1985, Acholi Tito Okello became the new president, but the NRA ousted him in January 1986.1 Former Acholi soldiers fled to the north to be re-integrated in the Acholi society, but because of the difficulties of re-integration, they soon raped and plundered the local population. The NRA detachments placed in Gulu and Kitgum to provide security were also ill disciplined. The Acholi attributed the disorder to witchcraft and against this background Alice Lakwena formed the Holy Spirit Movement (HSM) which was based on moral rehabilitation of impure soldiers and the aim was to make war against the Kampala-based government, impure soldiers and witches. Lakwena used a mixture of Western military organisation and traditional, ritual practises and fought a conventional war. HSM was defeated at Jinja in October 1987. In 1987 Joseph Kony established his rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Movement (LRA) after the HSM, with the difference that this group uses guerrilla tactics. His aim is to oust the Museveni government. In 1996 President Museveni was elected for a five-year term as President and he was re-elected in 2001. In 1997 and again in 1998 Uganda intervened in the DRC in support of rebels – first against Mobutu and in the second instance against Laurent Kabila.2

Another rebel group operating into Uganda is the Allied Democratic Front (ADF). It has an Islamic leaning and was a wing of the West Nile Bank Front in Kaya, Sudan, until May 1996. In June 1997, 600 ADF rebels occupied Kasese in Uganda. The town was retaken by the UPDF after a fierce battle.

Security situation

The UPDF is operating mainly against two rebel forces, namely the LRA in the north and the ADF in the southwest. The LRA uses bases in Sudan and the ADF operates from the DRC. The Ugandan government is convinced that Sudan supports both these rebel groups. The ADF was responsible for most attacks against civilians in 1999, although the LRA also target civilians. At least 1 000 people, mostly civilians, were killed by the ADF in 1999.3

Other smaller rebel groups are the West Nile Bank Front (WNBF), an ally of the LRA, and the Arua rebels, the Uganda Rescue Front-2 (UNREF-2) and the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU).4

In April 2000 the government instigated peace talks with the LRA and UNRF-2, but meaningful negotiations has not taken place with the two groups and other groups such as the ADF and WNBF remains resistant to talks.5 It was followed by an amnesty offer to rebels rejoining their communities and participating in the democratic process. Some rebels have accepted the amnesty, but the level of violence has not receded. The rebel groups have abducted 14 000 children from 1989 to 1999 to up their numbers and they are used as soldiers, porters and sex slaves.6

Another security concern is the Karamojong cattle rustling in the Moroto area, northeastern Uganda. President Museveni vowed in February that the Karamojong would be disarmed by the end of July 2000. However, only six of the expected 200 000 arms were collected by the third week of July. The cattle rustling problem exists across the Kenya border, making disarmament very difficult.7

Security Related Budget

In 1997, the official defence spending was 12.6% of the budget, but experts estimated it was closer to 20%.8 Military expenditure in 1992 was 2.4% of the GNP and 4.2% in 1997. The import of arms was 2.3% of total import in 1992 and stayed the same in 1997.9

The total budget expenditure for 2000/1 (July – June) has been estimated at US$950m. Shares by sector for the same period are expected to be:
  • Education 27%.
  • Public Administration 19%.
  • Security 14%.
  • Roads and works 9.3%.
  • Economic functions 8%.
  • Health 7.6%.
  • Interest 7%.
  • Law and order 6%.
  • Agriculture 1%.10
  • Security expenditure is down from 15.5% in 1999/2000 and the ideal situation is to keep it below 2% of GDP.

Political Oversight

  • Minister of Security
  • Minister of Defence
  • Defence Permanent Secretary
  • Inspector General of Police
  • Commissioner for Prisons
  • National Political Commissar
  • Presidential Advisor on Security
  • Private Secretary to President in charge of Defence
Mr. Muruli Mukasa
Mr. Steven Kavuma
Gabidande Musoke
Mr John Kisembo
Mr Joseph Etima
Mr James Wapakhabulo
Col Kahinda Otafiire
Maj James Mugira

Security Legislation

The Amnesty Bill was passed on 7 Dec 1999 under which surrendering rebels are pardoned.11

President Museveni announced on 9 September 2000 that an anti-terrorism bill would be tabled soon.12

In September 2000 President Museveni told the UPDF top structure that the Government will soon have a national defence policy defining the national defence mission, vision and strategy.13

International Treaties/Protocols/Alliances

Uganda has signed the following international agreements:

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

  • First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR.

  • International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

  • International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

  • Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (1951).

  • Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

  • African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1981).

  • African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.14

  • 1997 Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-personnel Mines and on their Destruction.(ratified or acceded)15

International Community Involvement

Uganda is member of the Joint Military Commission which is overseeing the implementation of the 1999 Lusaka cease-fire in the DRC. 16

The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) has moved its co-ordination centre for relief activities in the Great Lakes Region to Uganda.17

Forces deployed outside country


It is estimated that between 4 000 to 10 000 UPDF personnel are in the DRC, supporting the MLC and RCD-ML/Kisangani - a considerable portion of its best personnel and equipment. Uganda has redeployed 5 000 troops from Kisangani to Uganda as part of the UN disengagement plan after the Kisangani fight between Uganda and Rwanda in June 2000.

UGANDAN PEOPLE’S DEFENCE FORCE

Commanders.


The President is the Commander–in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Under him serves the Chief-of-Staff and he has the following forces under his command:
  • Army Commander
  • Deputy Army Commander
  • Army Chief of Staff
  • Director of Military Intelligence
  • Deputy Director Military Intelligence
  • Chief of Operation and Training
Maj. Gen. Jeje Odongo
Brig. Joram Mugume
Brig. James Kazini
Col. Noble Mayombo18
Maj Fred Mugisha19
Col Benon Biraro20

Structure

Army, air force and national resistance divisions.

National Police (about 50 000 strong) and National Police Air Wing.

Marines and river patrol force.

Border defence unit.

The army, with its headquarters in Kampala, consists of infantry, armour, artillery and air defence units.21 Forces in the DRC are under the independent tactical control of Kampala.

Bases.

The main army garrisons are at Kampala, Kitgum and Gulu (northern Uganda), Jinja (southeastern Uganda near Lake Victoria), Mbale (southeastern Uganda near border with Kenya), Masaka (southwestern border near Lake Victoria), Entebbe (southern border at airport), Soroti (central Uganda) and Mbarara (western Uganda).

Defence Budget.

Defence expenditure increased from US$94 million in 1995 to 100 million in 1997 and 142 million in 1998 because the involvement in the DRC. About 90% of the defence budget is allocated to operational and manpower requirements, leaving a small amount for modernisation and overhaul of the force. The defence force has been rocked by several corruption scandals in which officers were involved.

Doctrine.

It seems that the “hearts and minds” policy of the UPDF is achieving success among the civilian population in the north. The army encourages the local communities to send the able people among them for three months training as home guards on 12-month contracts. They are then under command of the local military commander. The army also now offers substantial rewards for information. The UPDF is also now changed its policy on the unpopular protected camps in the north and is discouraging the population to move there.22

Strength.

Estimates on the strength of the UPDF vary between 50 000 to 70 000 (0,5 to 0,8% of the labour force)23 as Uganda's military involvement with the rebel movements of Bemba (MLC) and Wamba (RCD-ML/Kisangani) lead to recruitment for the UPDF. In May 2000 the government announced that it would formally discharge soldiers who served under former Presidents Amin and Obote in the defunct Uganda Army (UA) and Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) from national service. More than 5 000 UA soldiers will be affected.24

Composition.

In the early years the NRA recruited heavily in the southwest, and it is still reflected in the UPDF leadership. Efforts have been made to recruit more northerners and easterners over the past years. The Minister of Defence, Steven Kavuma, said in September 2000 that the number of applicants from the northern part sometimes exceeded the required quota during recruitment drives, and that the required quotas for the central and western areas might not be met.25

Training.

Training takes place at a military academy at Bombo. A school for the training of armoured personnel will be built near Kabamba Military Training School in the central Mubende district.26 Singo Training School is also in the Mubende district.27 In September 2000 the UPDF senior command attended a month-long course focusing on military strategy and national security in Entebbe.28 President Museveni asked the senior commanders to focus on leadership development which he said was top priority, but also on modernising the armed forces, training in the army, standardisation, administration of logistics and the systems of the command and control structure.29 President Museveni has identified the right focus for the course if one examines the Force’s performance in Uganda and the DRC.

Officers often attend military courses at Sandhurst in Britain, in Greece and at the Zimbabwe’s military Academy. US Special Force trainers trained Ugandan battalions as part of African peacekeeping force ACRI, but the US has not renewed the UPDF’s participation in ACRI because of the country’s involvement in the DRC conflict.30 A British Army training team which has assisted the UPDF since the 1980s, seems to have been recalled. In September 2000 the US and UK cancelled about 80 military scholarships because of the country’s involvement in the DRC conflict.31 In April 1999 at least 120 Israeli military instructors were training the Presidential Protection Unit in artillery and tank combat skills.32

In June 1999 the UPDF announced that more than a 100 Congolese vigilantes, together with Ugandan counterparts, had received military and political science training in Kasese with the aim of using them to monitor the border between the DRC and Uganda. Several hundred Congolese militiamen were also trained in September 2000 by the UPDF for the RCD-Kisangani, Wamba dia Wamba’s force. They were trained in military drill and law, political education, politicisation and education on “the operations of a liberation movement”. These militiamen had rebelled against Wamba and fled with guns with which they attacked UPDF and RCD-Kisangani positions. They were brought to Uganda by the UPDF for the training.33 The UPDF has trained at least 1 500 MLC recruits at Lisala, DRC, in 1999.34

Defence Equipment: 1999 – Refer to table/s

Type

Detail

Main battle tanks
E 140 x T-54/55
Light tanks
E 20 x PT-76
Reconnaissance vehicles
40 x Eland, 60 x Ferret (reported)
Armoured personnel carriers
20 x BTR-60, 4 x OT-64 SKOT, 10(+) x Mamba, some Buffel
Towed artillery
76mm 60 x M-1942, 122mm 20x M-1938, 130mm e 12, 155mm (reported)
Multiple rocket launchers
122mm BM-21
Mortars
81mm L16, 82mm M-43, 120mm 60x Soltam
Anti-tank guided weapon
40 x AT-3 Sagger
Air defence guns
14.5mm ZPU-1/-2/-4, 23mm 20 x ZU-23, 37mm 20 x M-1939
Surface–to-air missiles
SA-7
Mine detection vehicle system
1 x Chubby
Fighter aircraft
4 x MiG-21, 7 x MiG-21 (being upgraded)
Training aircraft
3 x L-39, 1 x SF-260
Transport helicopters
1 x Bell 206, 1 x Bell 412, 4 x Mi-17, 2 x Mi-24
Transport/liaison helicopter
1 x AS-202

Latest Procurement.


Several procurement scandals have rocked the UPDF in 1999, for example undersize uniforms from China, not up to standard food rations from South Africa, two out of four unserviceable Mi-24 helicopters and 90 second-hand tanks, several unserviceable, from Belarus.35

During the last months of 1999/early months of 2000, Uganda purchased seven MiG-21 fighter aircraft from Belarus. Four MiGs were modified in Israel where its armament capacity and firepower were enhanced, avionics replaced and wing span changed. The four have arrived in the country and pilots have started testing and exercising with two of the MiG-21 planes.36

It seems that they are also in the process of buying more Mi-17 transport helicopters. An Israeli company, Silver Shadow, imported Stirling assault rifles into Uganda in 1999, probably to be used by the Presidential Protection Unit. President Museveni visited Belarus at the end of March 2000 to personally buy new weaponry, as he believes that the middlemen are taking too large a cut in arms deals. Museveni was interested in Stalin Organ multiple rocket launchers, tanks and anti-aircraft rockets. Uganda also wanted Belarus to help establish a maintenance workshop in Uganda in order to limit the costs on repairing equipment.

Rebel Forces

LORD’S RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)

Commanders.

Joseph Kony is the leader.

Doctrine.

The LRA has gradually become less religious in emphasis and increasingly reliant on guerrilla tactics.37

Support and Allies.

Sudan assisted the LRA in setting bases up in southern Sudan and also provides weapons and training.38 The LRA has developed links with the WNBF.39

Strength and Composition.

The LRA has a strength of approximately 2 000.40 It comprises mainly of Acholi tribesman from the Sudanese-Ugandan border.41

Bases and Areas of Operation.

The LRA is based in southern Sudan and operates in northern Uganda. In January 2002 Pres. Museveni and Sudanese President Umar Haan al-Bashir pledged to work towards “peace and security” in the region and to cease military support to rebel groups. In 1995 the two countries severed diplomatic relations with Uganda has accusing Sudan of supporting the LRA, and Sudan has claiming that Uganda was assisting the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

ALLIED DEMOCRATIC FRONT (ADF)

Commanders.

According to Chris Tushabe, also known as “Commander Benz”, who has recently defected and handed ADF war plans to the UPDF, Abdullah Yusuf Kabanda was the ADF chairman, Henry Birungi the army commander, Loduku the chief of combat operation and Medison Rutehenda the secretary-general.42 Jamil Mukulu is said to be the driving force behind the ADF.43 In October 1998, Taban Amin, a son of Idi Amin, became the chief-of-staff of the ADF. According to Ugandan security sources, Amin was close to Kabila and commanded a rebel unit in support of Kabila in Kindu in 1998. He received training in Sudan and Qatar and is married to Zainab Nunza, a Congolese woman from Kabila’s home town in Katanga as well as to the daughter of late Rwandan President Juvenal Habyalimana.44

Doctrine.

The group uses guerrilla tactics such as hit-and-run operations and the abduction of children.45 They are operating in small groups.46 The government blames them for several bomb attacks in Kampala.47

Strength and Composition.

The ADF was established by a core group of Moslems from the Tabliq sect, but display little of their Islam claims as they terrorise the population.48 It is estimated that the ADF numbers 600 to 1000 men. It is now a grouping of members of the Moslem Tabliq sect, a local Ugandan liberation movement (NALU), exiled members of Rwanda’s genocidal militia (ex-FAR and Interahamwe) and former Zairean soldiers.49 According to the UPDF, the ADF was recruiting in Busia, Maska, Mpigi, Kampala and Ntungamo districts in September 2000.50 Some ADF members have surrendered under the amnesty law.51

Support.

Sudan funds ADF. The Bakonjo people, with their extensive knowledge of the mountains, have been coerced into helping the ADF.52

Bases and Areas of Operation.

The ADF has its bases in the Ruwenzori Mountains in the DRC and operates into southwestern Uganda from Kasese to Hoima and there was evidence in December 1999 that they are moving to Kampala.53 It has been blamed by the Ugandan government for several bomb attacks in Kampala in 1999.54 Bomb blasts have occurred again in Kinshasa January 2000.

UGANDA NATIONAL RESERVE FRONT-2 (UNRF-2)

Commanders.


The group broke away from Juma Oris’s WNBF.55 Col Ali Bamuzes is the leader.56

Composition.

The group abducts Ugandans in Arua to boost its numbers, but are mainly Muslim tribesman.57 UNRF-2 rebels have recently surrendered to the UPDF.58

Areas of Operation.

It operates in the northwest district around Arua.59

WEST NILE BANK FRONT (WNBF)

Commanders.


This group was launched by Col Juma Oris, a former senior official in Idi Amin’s regime. Its aim was to return Amin, exiled in Saudi Arabia since 1979, to power and restore their privileged lifestyles. Amin has made no public statement about the group.60 This group was dealt a severe blow in Morobo, Kaya and Yei in southern Sudan in March 1997, but was revived by Moses Chaku, Oris’s former political commissar and a former Captain in the Uganda Army.61

Doctrine.

The group is using guerrilla tactics, including ambushing of aid convoys and abducting locals.62

Composition.

The bulk of this group is made up of soldiers who served under Idi Amin. The group also abducts Ugandans along the Sudanese/Ugandan border in West Nile region to boost its numbers.63

Area of Operation.

The WNBF operates in the northwestern areas of Koboko and Arua in Uganda.64

NATIONAL ARMY FOR THE LIBERATION OF UGANDA (NALU)

Commanders.

Jafari Salimu claimed to be NALU’s chairman in December 1999.65

Doctrine.

The group is following guerrilla tactics and claimed responsibility for three bombings of passenger buses in August 1999, which reportedly killed 29 people.66

Area of Operation.

The groups operate from eastern DRC into western Uganda.

Support.

NALU said in a statement to IRIN that it had no connections with Islam.67

CITIZEN’S ARMY FOR MULTIPARTY POLITICS (CAMP)

Brigadier Smith Opon Acak, leader of the National Liberation Army (UNLA) and formerly Obote’s chief-of-staff, was killed while organising a the new rebel group, CAMP, in northern Uganda.68

ENDNOTES

  1. Uganda – Country profile, Quest Economics Database, 30 August 2000.

  2. Uganda – Africa review 1998, Quest Economics Database, 1 March 1998.

  3. Armed Conflicts Report 2000: Uganda, Project Ploughshares, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, Conrad Grebel College, 2000, <www.ploughshares.ca/content/ACR/ACR00/ACR00-Uganda.html

  4. Ugandan rebels move bases, Jane’s Information Group Ltd, 13 October 1999.

  5. Uganda Review 2000, Quest Economics Database, 30 August 2000.

  6. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  7. Army targets 200 000 K’jong guns, gets six, Africa News Service, 27 July 2000.

  8. High cost of war, Financial Times, 25 February 1998.

  9. 2000 World Development Indicators, Defence Expenditures and Arms Trade, p. 286.

  10. Ugandan Ministry of Finance and Development in Uganda Country Report, The Economist Intelligence Unit, p.20, August 2000.

  11. Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, Amnesty law – Just a campaign trick? The Monitor, 11 January 2000.

  12. President Museveni says government to table anti-terrorism bill, Radio Uganda, 9 September 2000.

  13. Editorial – Defence policy needed, New Vision, 7 September 2000.

  14. Amnesty International Report 2000, Amnesty International Publications, London, 2000.

  15. Landmine Monitor Report 1999, Human Rights Watch, USA, April 1999.

  16. Timothy Kalyegira, Warring sides in DRC agree on the cease-fire, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 19 Apr 2000.

  17. Red Cross chooses Uganda as Center for relief activities, Xinhua, 11 September 2000.

  18. President Museveni conducts reshuffle of senior military officers, New Vision, 14 November 2000.

  19. President Museveni conducts reshuffle of senior military officers, New Vision, 14 November 2000.

  20. President Museveni conducts reshuffle of senior military officers, New Vision, 14 November 2000.

  21. Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment – Central Africa: Uganda, January – June 2001.

  22. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  23. 2000 World Development Indicators, Defence Expenditures and Trade in Arms, p.286.

  24. Government discharges ex-Amin soldiers, New Vision, 2 May 2000.

  25. Defence minister says HIV status a factor in army promotion, New Vision, 8 September 2000.

  26. Uganda to build Training School of Armoured Personnel, Xinhua, 24 September 2000.

  27. Hundreds of DRCongo rebels reportedly training in Uganda, The EastAfrican, 25 September 2000.

  28. Editorial - Defence policy needed, New Vision, 7 September 2000.

  29. President Museveni reportedly calls for modernization of army, The Monitor, 6 September 2000.

  30. Levi Ochieng, Uganda out of US-Africa Peace Force, The East African, 18 September 2000.

  31. UPDF wasn’t built on training grants, The Monitor, 18 September 2000.

  32. Museveni makes use of Israel’s military expertise, Africa Analysis, 30 April 1999.

  33. Hundreds of DRCongo rebels reportedly training in Uganda, The EastAfrican, 25 September 2000.

  34. Ugandan-trained DRCongo rebel speaks of recruitment, training successes, The Sunday Vision, 11 May 2000.

  35. Don’t buy from friends, New Vision, 26 June 2000; Defence bought Sh50bd junk warplanes, The Monitor, 8 July 1999; Paul Harris, Uganda pays over the odds for tanks that will not work, Jane’s Intelligence Review, 1 April 1999.

  36. Ugandan pilots begin flying MiG fighter jets, Xinhua, 21 March 2001.

  37. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  38. High cost of war, Financial Times, 25 February 1998; Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  39. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  40. Country Profile 2000 Uganda, Economic Intelligence Unit.

  41. Robert Lowry, Uganda’s three-sided war of attrition, Aerospace/Defence Jane’s Defence Weekly, 25 September 1996.

  42. Rebel leader reportedly hands over “war plans” to army, New Vision, 15 September 2000.

  43. IRIN special report on the ADF rebellion, IRIN, 9 December 1999.

  44. Amin’s son leads ADF, New Vision, 2 October 1998.

  45. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  46. IRIN special report on the ADF rebellion, IRIN, 9 December 1999.

  47. IRIN special report on the ADF rebellion, IRIN, 9 December 1999.

  48. IRIN special report on the ADF rebellion, IRIN, 9 December 1999.

  49. High cost of war, Financial Times, 25 February 1998.

  50. ADF Recruiting in five districts, New Vision, 9 September 2000.

  51. Rebel leader reportedly hands over “war plan” to army, New Vision, 15 September 2000.

  52. IRIN special report on the ADF rebellion, IRIN, 9 December 1999.

  53. IRIN special report on the ADF rebellion, IRIN, 9 December 1999.

  54. Review Uganda 2000, Quest Economics Database, 30 August 2000.

  55. Revived WNBF raids Arua, abducts 220, The Monitor, 3 September 2000.

  56. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  57. Revived WNBF raids Arua, abducts 220, The Monitor, 3 September 2000; Robert Lowry, Uganda’s three-sided war of attrition, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 25 September 1996.

  58. WNBF promise peace in West Nile, New Vision, 11 January 2000.

  59. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  60. Robert Lowry, Uganda’s three-sided war of attrition, Jane’s Defence Weekly, 25 September 1996.

  61. Revived WNBF raids Arua, abducts 220, The Monitor, 3 September 2000.

  62. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999

  63. Revived WNBF raids Arua, abducts 220, The Monitor, 3 September 2000.

  64. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  65. Central and Eastern Africa IRIN weekly update, IRIN, 11 December 1999.

  66. Paul Harris, Uganda’s civil war – bloody, brutal and bereft of morality, 1 February 1999.

  67. Central and Eastern Africa IRIN weekly update, IRIN, 11 December 1999

  68. Uganda Review 2000, Quest Economics Database, 30 August 2000.


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