Uganda to deploy troops to DR Congo to fight M23 rebels next week

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Ugandan will next week deploy troops to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo under a regional East African Community standby force against M23 rebels, the army spokesman, Brig Felix Kulayigye has said.

“By next week, the first force in Ituri will have landed of the Ugandan contingent. The contingent will be commanded by Col (Mike) Hayiriba who has been briefed and is already beginning to airlift his troops,” Brig Kulayigye said on Friday.

Eastern DRC has of recent witnessed fierce fighting between M23 rebels and DRC government forces of FADRC.

In June East African Community heads of state agreed to have boots on ground by deploy  a regional standby force in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo against the M23 rebels who have become a menace.

Last month, Kenya deployed troops in two batches in eastern DRC as part of the regional standby force to help the DRC government battle rebels who now control key localities forcing thousands of Congolese to flee their homes.

According to Brig Kulayigye, Uganda has already sent its headquarter component to Goma where the command of the EAC regional force is based.

The deployments

The regional standby force deployment in the DRC to fight M23 rebels has been made into three sectors.

Whereas Burundi will be in charge of sector one in South Kivu, Kenya is controlling sector two which oversees North Kivu.

On the other side, Uganda will take charge of sector three based in Ituri province.

The tactical base of the Ugandan troops will be in Bunia.

M23 menace

Having risen to prominence a decade ago where it captured Goma City , M23, a Tutsi- led group  went into a lull before reemerging earlier this year.

The group claimed the DRC government had failed to honour a pledge of integrating its fighters into the army prompting the reemergence.

It has since seize large areas in North Kivu province

The rebel group has also been blamed for several human rights abuses, including sexual violence.

For example, the rebels were accused of having masterminded the massacre of over 100 civilians at Kishishe, a village 70 kilometres (40 miles) north of Goma city.

During the incident, over 20  women and girls  were raped in Rutshuru region.

The European Union has since sanctioned some of the rebel group commanders including the spokesperson, Maj Willy Ngoma.

 

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