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Uganda sends 5,000 peacekeeping troops to DRC

The troops being flagged off

The troops being flagged off

Uganda has flagged off a brigade of 5,000 soldiers for a peacekeeping mission in North Kivu province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The troops, under the East African Community (EAC) Regional Force, are to be deployed in Rutshuru territory in accordance with recommendations made during a mini-summit of heads of state held in Angola’s capital, Luanda, on November 25, 2022.

The area is currently under the conquest of the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels. Troops started arriving in Kisoro district on Tuesday and are stationed at Kaya government land and the Ugandan side of Bunagana border. The border is currently empty of locals after Ugandan security officials blocked them from crossing to the DRC. 

On the DRC side of the border, the M23 rebels have also blocked locals from crossing to Uganda. Lt Gen Kayanja Muhanga, the UPDF Land Forces Commander, explained during the flagging-off exercise at Bunagana border that the troops are not crossing to North Kivu to launch an offensive against rebels but to supervise the peace process.   

"This force that is being assembled here, the Regional East Africa Community Force is coming in here on a different mission. The peacekeeping mission, their mission is to witness the process of achieving peace in eastern DRC. The East African Community Regional Force has not come to attack like the other side of DRC where we went to attack the ADF. The other side, we went to South Sudan to attack, in Somalia, we went to attack the al-Shabaab. This force, their work is not to attack the belligerents there, it is going to witness and ensure implementation of the decision that were taken in the heads of state meeting. Those decisions are there and are well known. So we're not going there as enemies of anybody," said Muhanga.

Col Michael Walaka Hyeroba, the Ugandan contingent commander on the EAC Regional Force in North Kivu province, says that the troops to be deployed have passed a course to enable them to implement the mission without committing previous blunders that even led to Uganda being sued by DRC and being fined over $325 million by The International Court of Justice.    

"There is something called Mao's awe and exaltation. While still in the bush where this army was formed, the exaltation was borrowed from Mao Tze Tung's revolution in China to say never take a thread or needle from the population without paying for it. Anything that you take from the population, you must pay for it. If you steal from the wanainchi you're put on a firing squad. Things have changed now but still people get so many years. It is a capital offence so you find someone gets 30 years in prison," added Muhanga.

Hajji Shafique Ssekandi, Kisoro resident district commissioner, and Abel Bizimana, Kisoro district LC V chairman, say that fighting between Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers and M23 rebels in North Kivu province that started in March 2022 has caused a huge economic crisis for both locals, the district, and the government. 

"And when we talk about war, the people of this area know war compared to peace. Last year before March 28th, Bunagana area had robust business activities. There was booming export trade here. On the daily basis, we were almost clearing 80 trailers going to Goma. The Bunagana you have seen today is not the one we had. People have been running, people have been hearing different sounds of guns here," said Ssekandi. 

The booming trade came to a standstill after all the clearing offices were closed after rebels took over the DR Congo side in June of the same year. Despite the intervention of the EAC regional forces and repeated cease-fire orders, fighting between M23 rebels and FARDC and militia coalition has not stopped. 

On Tuesday evening, M23 rebels claimed the capture of Mweso and Bihambwe in the chiefdoms of Bashali and Bahunde, Masisi territory, after intense fighting with FARDC soldiers and a militia coalition. M23 spokesperson, Lawrence Kanyuka, released a statement on Twitter on Wednesday morning accusing FARDC of occupying the areas yet M23 had withdrawn to allow EAC troops to occupy. He also accused FARDC and Militia coalition of violating ceasefire orders by attacking M23 positions in Muhongozi.

However, on Wednesday evening, Lt Col Guillaume Ndjike Kaiko, the FARDC spokesperson for North Kivu province, released a statement accusing FARDC of violating cease-fire orders and capturing Mweso town again yet it had withdrawn on March 13, 2023. The deployment of the regional force was decided by the EAC Heads of State to occupy positions that M23 vacate to pave the way for negotiations with the DR Congo government. 

M23, which launched assaults against the Congolese government (FARDC) troops in March 2022, has captured several areas of Rutshuru territory, including the Uganda-DRC borders of Bunagana and Busanza. A section of civilians, politicians, and activists accuse the EAC regional force of failing to launch an assault against M23. The DR Congo government also accuses Rwanda of backing M23, but Rwanda and M23 strongly deny it.


+5 #1 Willy not Silly 2023-03-30 19:58
Ugandan troops to keep peace in DRC, or to help the Banyamulenge M23 rebels?
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+6 #2 Kalibbala 2023-03-30 19:59
Poor Congolese! These are being sent to Beef up
the Already Marauding M23 Terrorists Supported by Uganda! Where are The Congolese Army!?

How Stupid can You be to let Somebody Who has
Plundered your Country for Decades to Again Station Forces on your Territory!! Except if The Congolese Generals are Involved in the Deal of Looting Minerals!! Africa Cry Blood!
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+2 #3 WADADA rogers 2023-03-31 00:37
The International Court of justice is waiting to punish us again, why, these guys are going to steal timber and gold as well as raping women.
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+7 #4 Lysol 2023-03-31 03:02
Zaire, aka the DRC, will be divided up among its smaller and powerful neighbors, because of the very weak leadership of the country.

There are many so-called useless Congolese rich and intellects in the diaspora who are naive and gullible.
By the way, why does it take only 500 Angola's army compared to the 5,000 Uganda's army to do the same job?

A ratio of 1:5. Angola military is the most powerful of all of them.

Of course, Museveni's militias will not shoot their own kinds , the Museveni-23, like they did in Somali and South Sudan. They will be there to protect the M-23 by all means necessary, and loot the resources of the Congo. Don't be fooled!
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+5 #5 Lakwena 2023-03-31 08:38
But who will be picking Bills for this mission and for how long? This is because since 2 years ago the Operation Suja (sujui) is sucking our blood, worth over Shs.300 million per day.

In other words, what is the "Problem of Africa? We can't feed, educate and/or treat our multiple diseases ailment, but are busy blowing up billions of dollars in stupid war and so call peace-keeping.

It is exhausting and sickening!

The economy is falling apart, the youths unemployment is bewildering; there are no schools, hospital, roads, etc. worth naming, but like war maniacs here we are, 5,000 troops are being deployed for peace-keeping, peace not worth keeping.

After such deployment, the next thing will be more refugee influx into the country, to inconvenience our border countrymen women and children, and exhaust whatever remains of the space and hope Ugandans have.
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+5 #6 WADADA rogers 2023-03-31 09:18
Those are thieves, not peace keepers
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+4 #7 apollo 2023-03-31 22:42
Gen. Museveni has continued to abuse the constitution with impunity.

Sending Uganda soldiers to any part of the World must be ratified by an act of Parliament or a constitutional instrument of one form or another. These gunmen like their predecessors pretend to uphold the constitution but consistently do otherwise. Gladly, they can only do this for a time.
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+2 #8 Zaitun 2023-04-03 17:23
Quoting apollo:
Gen. Museveni has continued to abuse the constitution with impunity.
Sending Uganda soldiers to any part of the World must be ratified by an act of Parliament or a constitutional instrument of one form or another. These gunmen like their predecessors pretend to uphold the constitution but consistently do otherwise. Gladly, they can only do this for a time.

He knows why he is doing that- to loot the mineral resources as his and his brother's family members did during the war of the so-called liberation of Zaïre from Mobutu dynasty.

Remember how Museveni and his half-brother of Rwanda fought to control exploitable mineral-rich territories while killing innocent civilians in Congo? Something that has not stopped!

Only if the Congolese were wise and understood who the Musevenis are! If they are capable to destroy Uganda, their claimed to-be-home country, it will not be RDC that will be safe and left in peace by these rogue hyenas.!
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