Uganda to deploy 1,000 troops to DR Congo to fight M23 rebels

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Uganda is to deploy around 1,000 soldiers in the forest of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo under the regional enforcement mandate.

The news was confirmed by the UPDF spokesperson on Tuesday who said that Uganda will enforce by the end of November.

The eastern region of DR Congo has witnessed fierce fighting in recent months between Congolese troops and the M23 rebel group, prompting the East African Community (EAC) bloc to deploy a joint regional force to quell the violence.

Kenyan president confirmed the sending of the country’s soldiers to join the rest of the regional troops, by November 12 Kenyan troops arrived in the region and Uganda’s military and defense spokesman, Felix, said that Ugandan troops would follow shortly.

“We are doing final mentoring of our troops before inserting them into Eastern DRC before (the) end of this month to join our colleagues from Kenya who are already on the ground,” Kulayigye said.

“We are sending about 1,000 (soldiers) on the mission,” he said, without giving the exact date of departure.

The fighting has reignited regional tensions, with the DRC accusing its smaller neighbor Rwanda of backing the M23, something that UN experts and US officials have also said in recent months.

The Kinshasa government has continued accusing the Kigali government of supporting the M23, which Rwanda has denied over time.

Read Also; The Democratic Republic of Congo accuses Rwanda of invasion of its Territory

The M23 IS is a former Rwandan Hutu rebel group established in the DRC after the 1994 genocide of mainly Tutsis in Rwanda.

The M23, a largely Congolese Tutsi militia, has seized swathes of territory across North Kivu province, edging towards the region’s main city of Goma.

The M23 first leaped to prominence 10 years ago when it captured Goma in 2012, before being driven out and going to ground.

But it re-emerged late last year, claiming the DRC had failed to honor a pledge to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.

The condition of anonymity was that Kampala had already sent intelligence, medical and logistical teams into Goma to prepare the ground for the planned deployment.

The M23 is one of around 120 armed groups active in eastern Congo, many of them a legacy of two regional wars that flared late last century.

The EAC regional troops will include soldiers from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, and South Sudan. But its intended total size remains unclear.

 

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