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UPDF Troops Are Not In DRC To Fight M23 – Museveni

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Ugandan troops are not in DRC to fight M23, says Museveni

The reasons for Uganda’s Wednesday deployment of soldiers under the East African Regional Force to the eastern DRC have been outlined by President Museveni.

The president, who also serves as the military’s supreme commander, said in a statement that Uganda’s deployment of 1,000 soldiers in the DRC is intended to preserve peace rather than to participate in combat.

“In that endeavor, we will not engage in combat with or against the M-23. The M-23 and the Congolese government have agreed to a peace plan that calls for an end to hostilities (combat), a transfer of M-23 forces from parts of the places they had conquered to other areas that have been agreed upon, among other things, Museveni stated.

The M23 rebels and the DRC government have been in peace discussions, he said, and they should continue so that the political issue is resolved and peace may return to eastern DRC.

Our first task is to take over some of the posts that the M-23 have given to the East African Force as a neutral force rather than the Congolese army, who the M-23 see as foes or armed rivals in their internal politics.

In order to function as a neutral force while the Congolese take the opportunity to resolve their political issues, we are traveling to the Bunagana-Rutshuru region, not to fight the M-23.

According to the East African Regional Force’s proposal, Ugandan soldiers would be stationed in North Kivu’s Bunagana and Rushturu.

The M23 once operated in these regions and has extensive territorial authority.

Museveni asserts that Ugandan soldiers won’t fight anybody until they themselves are assaulted.

If one of the non-state armed groups refuses to accept peace under what we all deem to be fair circumstances, fighting may break out later. If one of the parties refuses to carry out the peace deal we have agreed upon, the Heads of State of East Africa would then have to order us to battle.

Project Shuja

The president made further remarks about the UPDF deployment in Eastern DRC in conjunction with the Congolese army under Operation Shuja, which he said is recording a number of achievements.

In this sense, he said, the UPDF is present in the Beni, Virunga (Biruunga) National Park, Semuliki, Mbooga, and Ituri regions.

We have gravely damaged the ADF with the help of our Congolese brothers and sisters, and the remnants are now fleeing into the Mambasa-Komanda districts, which are rather far from the border.

He said that unlike in the past when it was being picked by ADF fighters, Congolese farmers are now allowed to harvest their cocoa for the first time in many years.

Where we have worked, there is tranquility.

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