The Uganda Protectorate Forms Military Forces: 1895 - 1920 - The Uganda Protectorate Forms Military Forces: 1895 – 1920

Early on in the Protectorate’s history of occupation, the British colonial government had recognised the need for a local defence force. In 1895 the British colonial armed force in the Protectorate was called the Uganda Rifles, who were formed as an internal security force (i.e. keeping the peace in tribal areas rather than defending against external aggression). In the late 19th Century the local defence force was largely composed of Sudanese troops brought in by the British, these troops were commanded by a mix of British and Sudanese officers, local tribes were not that evident in this force defending the interests of the Imperial British East Africa Company.

Unfortunately, the Sudanese grew resentful of their conditions of service and the Uganda Rifles mutinied in 1897. On 1 January 1902 the somewhat irregular armed force in Uganda was reformed (with far fewer Sudanese and more local tribes in its ranks) and re-titled the 4th Battalion the King’s African Rifles (KAR). It was with this defensive structure that was in place at the outbreak of hostilities in 1914, although there had been cuts in the KAR in 1911 stretching the force structure of the regiment even further. By the end of the Great War the Ugandan contingent in the KAR had grown considerably and they had become an effective fighting force built out of Ugandans rather than outsiders and had enjoyed success against the German forces in East Africa. The Protectorate also developed an emergency response for the collection of intelligence on German activities and performing political-military liaison with allies in East Africa; according to UK National Archive records this organization (known as the Uganda Intelligence Department) was about 20 strong and included European officers and African soldiers.

Most of this recruitment was done from the northern part of the protectorate especially the Acholi sub-region. The British colonial administration had also fought with the Lamogi clan of the Acholi people in what that culminated in to the Lamogi Rebellion

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