The Uganda People’s Defence Forces has warned they will not hesitate to retaliate in case of any attack from the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.
The ADF, a Ugandan rebel outfit on Friday killed at least fourteen Tanzanian United Nations peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in a raid on their base in the North Kivu province of DRC in what has been described as the deadliest attack on UN forces in the recent years.
The volatile North Kivu province borders Uganda and Rwanda but according to UPDF spokesperson Brig.Richard Karemire, the Ugandan army is ready to retaliate in case of any attack by the rebels to the East African country.
“If these terrorists attacked Uganda, we would not hesitate to exercise the right to hot pursuit,”Brig.Karemire told the Nile Post on Saturday.
North Kivu borders other provinces including Ituri to the north and South Kivu to the South and has been a battle ground for a number of rival armed ethnic groups since 1998.
The province consists of three cities including; Goma, Butembo and Beni as well as six territories—Beni, Lubero, Masisi, Rutshuru.
On Friday, elements from the ADF rebels attacked a MONUSCO company operating base at Semliki in Beni territory before the Ugandan rebel group, MONUSCO forces and FARDC were engaged in protracted fight that left 14 UN Peacekeepers killed whereas many others sustained serious injuries.
The United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack on the body’s forces before asking the DRC government to investigate and bring perpetuators to book.
“These deliberate attacks against UN peacekeepers are unacceptable and constitute a war crime,” Guterres said in a statement on Friday.
The Ugandan army spokesperson however noted that the burden of eliminating the rebel outfit which was also declared a terrorist group rests on the Kinshasa government.
“UPDF will continue to protect our border against infiltration. However, it is also high time that parties under the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region honor their commitments to make the Kasese Centre operational. The ADF remains a threat to regional peace and stability.”
Started in 1996, the group was formed out of remnants of the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) and Jamilu Mukulu was the group’s leader until a few years ago when he was captured by the Tanzanian forces before he was repatriated back to Uganda where he is currently detained.
The UPDF spokesperson Brig.Richard Karemire recently said the ADF rebels who have still remained active are estimated between 700- 900 fighters.