Congo, Uganda extend joint military operations in eastern Congo
Operations extended 2 months pending deployment of regional force, says army statement
Congo and Uganda extended for two months joint military operations launched against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in the east, the Congo army said Wednesday.
The decision was reached during the second evaluation ministerial meeting Tuesday of the two countries in the Congolese national capital of Kinshasa, according to a statement.
The operations in North Kivu and Ituri provinces were launched late last year following a triple suicide bombing in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, where seven people were killed and dozens injured.
In June, the East African Community regional group approved the formation of a joint military force to secure peace in Congo amid relentless insecurity and deadly violence.
“It was recommended to extend these operations for two months pending the deployment of the African Community regional force and the switch of the Ugandan force into the regional force,” according to a statement after the meeting of defense ministers from Congo and Uganda.
On Sept. 8, the agreement on the status of the regional force of the East African Community was signed in Kinshasa.
The ADF has terrorized eastern DR Congo for more than two decades.
The military operations launched by Congolese and Ugandan forces are doing little to improve the security situation.
The latest attack occurred Tuesday when suspected ADF rebels burned five trucks on the Komanda-Mambasa road in Ituri province, killing a Somali truck driver, according to sources.
The vehicles were headed to Kisangani, from Bunia the capital of Ituri province.
But the army claims while the ADF is not yet eradicated, the joint forces have been able to interrupt their contacts, recruitment of fighters and supply of logistics networks.
The ADF pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2019.
Last year, the US placed the ADF on a list of “terrorist organizations” affiliated with ISIS.
Congolese President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi decried the security situation in the country.
“Despite tireless international efforts, a massive UN military presence in the DRC (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and diplomatic support for 23 years, this security problem continues to aggrieve my country,” he said Tuesday at the UN General Assembly in New York.
He reiterated claims accusing Rwanda of backing M23 rebels fighting in the east, a claim Rwanda denies.
There was no immediate response from Rwanda on the latest remarks.