Uganda Military Sent to DRC for Peace Mission

Photo courtesy of Uganda troops at DRC border

The Ugandan military has joined its Kenya counterparts for a peace mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo- DRC which has been infested with various rebels and militia groups.

Uganda military commonly known as Uganda People’s Defence Forces -UPDF will serve as part of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF). The EACRF was established last year amidst the endless fire exchange in DRC which has left hundreds of civilians killed, women raped and others forcefully initiated into rebel and militia groups.

Even though DRC’s thick rainforests are estimated to be harboring more than 20 rebel and militia groups, the most prominent are the M23 and Allied Democratic Forces- ADF. M23 fights to overthrow the DRC government or to cave off Kivu province and declare it an independent state.

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However, the ADF which has been internationally declared a terror group has been fighting the Uganda government based in DRC. In 2021 a series of Improvised Explosive Devices -IEDs went off in Kampala and they were linked to the same group.

Uganda swiftly sent its military to DRC after agreeing with the Kinshasa government and several ADF-linked rebels have been killed in joint operations. Over 100 ADF rebels have been killed since November 2021.

Nevertheless, there has been contestation on M23 rebel activities since Uganda and its neighbour Rwanda have severally been accused of funding the group. Both Rwanda and Kampala have denied such allegations.

DRC citizens a few weeks ago held protests against the presence of Kenyan forces claiming that they were not doing enough to protect them against rebels who were ransacking their homes and killing their relatives.

Now that Uganda has today officially sent troops to join Kenya, the world waits to see whether M23 activities will be neutralized. Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been the lead person in ensuring an amicable agreement is reached between M23 and Kinshasa government. However, these attempts haven’t yielded results.

While flagging off the Ugandan military at the Bunagana border, the commander of the country’s land forces, Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga, said: “Having pacified the country, UPDF now exports peace in other countries. We were in Liberia at one time, we are in Somalia, been to South Sudan, Central African Republic. We are also in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo fighting the Allied Democratic Forces terrorists where we are doing very well and fulfilling our objectives.”

Col Deo Akiiki, the deputy Uganda Army spokesperson, said Lt Gen Muhanga emphasized that the East African Community Regional Force is on a peacekeeping mission and is there to witness the process of achieving peace in the Eastern DRC.

“The EACRF is not going to attack the belligerents there but it is going to witness and ensure the implementation of the decisions that were taken between the Heads of States meetings,” Lt Gen Muhanga said according to Col Akiiki.

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