1,700 soldiers of the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) are already in the Democratic Republic of Congo fighting alongside the country’s forces in their campaign against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in Congo, HumAngle can report.
According to sources within the UPDF, 300 more Ugandan soldiers are on their way to DR Congo.
“Our prime objective is to put an end to the activism of this armed movement which has been in alliance with the Islamic State and has been causing havoc both in the DR Congo and Uganda,” a Ugandan military source told HumAngle.
The Congolese forces on the ground have been reinforced by two battalions specialized in jungle combat, and senior military officers say they have nothing to hide concerning their joint military operations with the Ugandan forces.
“We are even intending to bring some journalists to Nobili to brief them on what is going on,” an FARDC officer said.
“Around 4 p.m. today Thursday, we just saw another column of Ugandan soldiers entering the country,”Tony Kitambala, a freelance journalist based in Nobili, North Kivu told HumAngle.
“They came onboard armoured cars and there were also water canon vehicles.”
The reinforcements are heading towards North Kivu where air strikes and artillery gunfire were launched from Ugandan territory targeting ADF bivouacs in the forest.
“The specialized forces of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) supported by specialist units of the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) continue search and destroy operations in the zone which had been pounded in the early hours of Nov. 30 by the two armies,” Gen. Flavia Byekwaso and Gen. Leon-Richard Kasongothe, spokespersons of the UPDF and FARDC, respectively declared in their first joint communique since the beginning of the operations.
No technical information on the operations has so far been divulged by the two armies citing “defense secrets” as the main reason for the tight lips.
A senior DR Congo military officer who did not want to be named because he is not authorised to speak in the media, indicated that the operations were led on the Ugandan side by the son of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
Meanwhile, the Ugandan Ministry of Defense had indicated on its website that the Commander of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), Gen. Marcos de L’Affonso Da Costa, had met in Kampala with the Ugandan Armed Forces Chief, Gen. Wilson Mbasu Mba. During the meeting, they discussed the joint operations being carried out against the ADF by DR Congo and Ugandan armed forces.
The MONUSCO chief raised no objections against the operations.
During his usual press briefing on Wednesday, Dec. 1, Mathias Gillmann, MONUSCO spokesperson, had “underlined the necessity to guarantee very close coordination between the military actors to guarantee the efficacy of the operations and the security of all the parties at the same time.”
On his part, the current President of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Abdou Abarry of Niger had Wednesday estimated that the accord between Kampala and Kinshasa was “an initiative which must be supported.”
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