Uganda To Send 1,000 Troops To Join EAC Force In DR Congo

Fractious cooperation between the two countries is affecting the fight on two fronts, against the M23 on one side and an Islamic State affiliate on the other.

The Ugandan army has announced it is sending a contingent of 1,000 troops to join the East African Community (EAC) force in eastern DR Congo.

The troops will arrive in the DR Congo within the next few days. Their mission is to fight an incursion by rebels from the M23 movement in the border region.

But some Congolese officials are convinced Uganda is giving assistance to the M23 rebels.

Uganda and DR Congo are already attempting to cooperate in the country’s fight against rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces, who despite their name are affiliated with the Islamic State. 

“What should be known first is that we are trying to operate with Uganda in a clear way in Beni against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). We have of course heard information that the Ugandan army is involved in past events and they are things we are trying to retrace. At the right time, as soon as the details are ready, we would give you the position of government”, declared Patrick Muyaya, the DR Congo government spokesperson during a press briefing in Kinshasa.

Hundreds of Ugandan soldiers are already on the ground in the eastern DR Congo for several months now within the context of the joint Operation Shujaa launched on December 1, 2021 against armed groups including the rebel ADF.

The Ugandan forces are led by Major-General Richard Prit Olum, known as Dick Olum, who is the new commander of the Ugandan contingent deployed in North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the DR Congo. Last October he succeeded Lt.-General Kayanja Muhanga  who was appointed the new commander of the Ugandan ground forces.

Meanwhile, a five-month-old baby was killed and its mother wounded by bullets during an attack by combatants of the ADF on a position of the DR Congo army on Nov 20 in Kabalya village, located seven kilometres from Mutwanga centre, chief town of Ruwenzori sector of Beni territory in North Kivu.

In confirming the information, Meleki Mulala, a leader of the new civil society in Ruwenzori said the attack was launched at 10 p.m. on Sunday and the mother and child were dependents of a soldier.

The Congolese army is yet to make an official statement on the attack which is the umpteenth in Ruwenzori sector carried out by the ADF rebels who are accused of having killed thousands of civilians in Beni.

Since December 1, 2021, the Ugandan and DR Congo armies have been carrying out joint operations against rebels in North Kivu and Ituri provinces of the DR Congo but violence continues unabated in the provinces.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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