Ugandan military officials together with their counterparts from the Democratic Republic of Congo are set to hold bilateral talks over the insecurity in the Eastern part of the latter country.
A week ago, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels killed a total of seven United Nations peacekeepers in Beni, in the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo amidst increased activities by the insurgents in the area.
Speaking to Nile Post at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya on Wednesday, the UPDF spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire said officials from both militaries would soon meet to brainstorm on how to deal with the insurgency.
“In days to come we shall be having a meeting with the military leadership to discuss how we can continue working together to deal with this regional menace,” Brig. Karemire said.
The talks according to the army spokesperson will try to see how to ensure peace especially along the border for both Uganda and the DRC which has been volatile over the years.
The Ugandan army spokesperson however dismissed as unfounded, the reports that UPDF had already deployed on Congo soil to fight the ADF rebels.
“We don’t have any single UPDF soldier on DRC ground because they assured us they have enough and capable forces to deal with the problem.”
According to Karemire, the UPDF together with auxiliary forces including Local Defence Units maintain presence at the Ugandan border with DRC.
He assured locals in areas near the border that their security is guaranteed.
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 undergoing trial.
They operate in North Kivu which 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.
The Ugandan rebel group which was also declared a terrorist organisation has caused a lot of menace within both Uganda and the DRC.
A 2014 combat evaluation report by the then DR Congo’s army commander, Gen Didier Etumba Longila presented in meeting with his Ugandan counterpart then, Gen Katumba Wamala on May 7, 2014 in Beni, the rebel group had killed 217 DR Congo soldiers whereas 444 had been injured in a period of just five months.
However, despite being neutralised by the UPDF, FARDC (DRC) and MONUSCO forces, the ADF insurgents have in the past years been regrouping and by last year it was estimated the group had between 700 and 900 fighters and tension has been rising .
Last year, the rebel group occasioned the biggest lost to MONUSCO peacekeepers when they killed 15 Tanzanian soldiers and 53 others sustained injuries in a raid on their base in the North Kivu province.
The Ugandan army would later attack and burn some of their camps destroying them and killing a number of rebels.