The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have deployed troops in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to fight rebels, knowledgeable military sources have told The Nile Post.
Sources have told us that the troops were deployed on May 17 and the first deployments were made in Kasindi, Beni and Butembo. Kasindi is located in North Kivu Province, Eastern DRC and it houses one of the main customs posts in the Eastern DRC and which processes a large flow of merchandise from Uganda.
The troops are reportedly commanded by Maj Gen Kayanja Muhanga, the commandant of the Mountain Brigade in the UPDF.
The deployment, sources said, is intended to flush out “enemy forces” that could destabilize Uganda.
Beni in eastern DRC is occupied by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia fighters who have carried out a number of killings. In March this year, the ADF killed 23 people.
Fighters attacked Beu Manyama-Moliso village in the Beni region. The army intervened, killing two assailants.
In an interview with NBS TV, the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi admitted that the UPDF was working with DRC government for security reasons but denied reports of UPDF’s deployment.
“We haven’t deployed yet, but we are working with our Congolese brothers to help sort out that matter because it was them, it concerns us,” Gen Muhoozi said after swearing-in as one of the UPDF representatives in Parliament.
Sources told us that a month ago, President Museveni tasked Maj Gen Kayanja to go on an assessment mission in DRC.
The mission was to evaluate the security situation and determine how many troops and armoury to deploy.
Gen Kayanja returned to Uganda two weeks ago and wrote a report to the President, sources told us.
Two weeks later, according to sources, troops have been deployed.
It is still uncertain how many these troops are, and how long they will be on this specific mission.
Ugandan troops have been in and out of Congo in recent years, sometimes without Kinshasa’s permission, but this time sources said the deployment was upon President Felix Tshisekedi ‘s request to President Museveni.
The ADF, which originated in the 1990s in western Uganda with the aim of establishing an Islamic state, is one of more than 100 rebel groups that plague the eastern provinces of the vast country that the UPDF hopes to flash out.