Yoweri Museveni, the president of Uganda, issued an order on Sunday to send extra troops into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to hunt down the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels who are thought to have murdered 39 secondary school pupils last Friday in western Uganda’s Kasese area.
In a statement, Museveni claims that the ADF should be completely destroyed in light of the most recent attack. The president’s significantly revised remark is provided below. I offer my condolences to the affected families and the entire nation.
This latest crime committed by ADF members is illegal, desperate, terroristic, and pointless. The ADF, who had occupied the region for nearly 20 years, has been under intense pressure from the Congolese army and our troops ever since “Operation Shujja” began.
We have inflicted so much damage on these criminals. To help you understand the situation, take my rough sketch of the Rwenzori (north to south). In air miles, I think the mountain is 60 miles, North-South and 30 miles, East to West.
Before ‘Operation Shujja’, the whole area west and south of the Rwenzori mountain, on the Congo side, was controlled by ADF, more or less, in spite of some camps of the pro-government armies (Congo, UN and SADDEC).
They were mining in the area, harvesting people’s cocoa and selling it as their own, collecting taxes, etc. In their ignorance, they also thought that the forests in the area, were a protection for them. However, with modern technology, government armies, by day and by night, can see them from above wherever they may try to hide and the more remote the forest, the better.
With eyes in the sky, by day and by night, we would then deliver long-range artillery fire on the unsuspecting terrorists or attack them with high-speed fighter bombers from Entebbe. It was devastating. CDF should get some of his staff to inform you of the damage we have done to the terrorists since the operation started.
As a consequence of the eyes in the sky and long-distance deadly fire, followed by infantry troops on the ground, two things have happened. In the huge area west of the Rwenzori, the terrorists have run away to beyond the Beni-Eringeti-Komanda-Bunya road; and the terrorists can no longer concentrate in big groups.
It is safer for them to splinter into small groups which, they hope, may not be seen by our eyes. That is how their desperate, futile, criminal and terrorist schemes, come in. They start imagining that if they flee Congo, re-enter Uganda, kill people that are not armed (soft targets), that action, would force us to recall our army from Congo to defend the Uganda villages and that would save them from the losses they are now suffering.
That is what they tried on the 13th of December, 2022, when 51 of them entered Ntoroko with the same plan like the one of Nyabugaando yester-night – kill people etc. Since the army and the people in that area were alert, 26 of them were killed, 25 were captured, 2 light machine guns, 7 IEDs were also captured and, among the captured, there was their leader, Ekyakute, a Musoga by tribe.
The UPDF had, initially, concentrated on the bigger groups, west of the Rwenzori. After defeating the bigger groups, recently, they started hunting the smaller group, south of the Rwenzori Mountain, south of the Kasindi-Beni road, in the Mwalika valley, around Biruunga national park in Congo, opposite Lake Edward (Rutshuru, Butuumbi).1½ months ago, Mulaalo, commander of that group was killed.
Earlier in April, Rubaanga, the quartermaster of one of the groups, was also killed. Hence, the desperate, cowardly, terrorist act of attacking a school. Why not attack the detachment that was only 3 kms away? If they did that, they would be fighters – army to army – the way NRA was and they would not be terrorists.
Their criminal and cowardly scheme would not, however, have succeeded if our people around Mpondwe were alert like the people of Ntoroko were when ADF came to that area last December 2022. Especially now that the Congo government allowed us to operate on the Congo side also, we have no excuse for not hunting down the ADF terrorists into extinction.
Ensure that the eyes in the sky and the other gadgets are working all the time, ensure nobody steals fuel on which they (the machines) depend and all the other linkages. We are now sending more troops into the area south of the Rwenzori Mountain and eliminate the obvious gaps.
Was an alarm sounded and by whom? How did the nearby security people respond? Why didn’t our people on the Congo side have intelligence on this splinter group etc.?
Anyway, our forces are not going to be pulled back from the Mwalika valley where they are hunting the Arab, Abua-Kasi, who replaced the killed Mulaalo and hunting Amigo. Their action, the desperate, cowardly, terrorist action, therefore, will not save them. We are bringing new forces to the Uganda side as we continue the hunting on the Congo side.
YOWERI K. MUSEVENI