DRC authorizes Ugandan army to enter Ituri and North Kivu to fight ADF

FARDC members patrol North Kivu bloodied by violence perpetrated by the ADF (illustrative image) © Stringer / Reuters

Text by: Victor Mauriat

2 min

RFI information: the Ugandan armed forces authorized to enter the territories of the east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi accepted the request made by his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni.

The objective is in particular to prosecute the ADF armed group which is rife in the area.

But in view of the recent history between the two countries, this is a sensitive decision, which has not yet been officially announced by the two heads of state.

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The decision of the Congolese head of state was taken Friday evening but the information was confirmed to us on Saturday by a UN source.

According to this source, the United Nations have been informed of Félix Tshisekedi's desire to let the UPDF, the Ugandan army, enter the territories of North Kivu and Ituri.

The first objective is to fight the armed group of the ADF, the Allied Democratic Forces.

A group that has increased attacks against civilians and Congolese forces in recent years.

On November 16, the Ugandan authorities also accused the ADF of being behind the two attacks in Kampala.

It is this event that allowed Yoweri Museveni to increase the pressure on his counterpart.

The Ugandan president has been trying for years to obtain the approval of Felix Tshisekedi for this operation, because there are also economic issues.

Last May, a Ugandan consortium was awarded the construction of several roads connecting the two countries.

It would therefore also be a question of protecting the works. 

For the time being, the Congolese government has not responded to RFI's requests, but the president of the Defense and Security Commission of the National Assembly, Bertin Mubonzi, has confirmed to us that he has been informed of the presidential decision.

He said, however, that the implementation of the decision still needs to be studied, especially in parliament.

Same tone from the United Nations, which explains that MONUSCO was informed to coordinate with the forces on the ground. The Ugandan presence in the DRC is a sensitive subject, especially for the inhabitants of the east of the country. The multiple conflicts of recent years have regularly involved neighboring powers, and the violence has left its mark in people's minds.

For several observers, members of civil society but also internationals, the probable arrival of another military power in Ituri and North Kivu is another threat to civilians.

They consider in particular that the ADF are mixed with the inhabitants which makes it difficult to identify them.

Will the Ugandans get there better than the FARDC or Monusco?"

asks one of our interlocutors.

C

'is possible but it is not guaranteed either

 . "

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