Congo says it must fight common enemy with Uganda as soldiers cross border – .

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Congo says it must fight common enemy with Uganda as soldiers cross border – .


BENI, Democratic Republic of the Congo, December 1 (Reuters) – Congolese authorities on Wednesday sought to allay concerns over the arrival of Ugandan troops in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo for an ongoing joint operation against a linked militia to the Islamic State.

Witnesses saw hundreds of Ugandan soldiers entering Congo as the two countries deployed special forces to secure Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia bases they had hit with airstrikes and artillery strikes the day before. . Read more

Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said countries were cooperating against a common enemy. The ADF is accused of killing hundreds of civilians in eastern Congo since 2019 and of carrying out a series of bombings in Uganda.

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“We know that it is an operation which some of our fellow citizens have doubts for good reasons”, he declared during a press conference in Kinshasa. “We and Uganda have an obligation to act together. “

This decision caused unrest in the two capitals because of the behavior of the Ugandan army during the Congolese civil war of 1998-2003, for which Kinshasa is demanding billions of dollars in reparations. Uganda called the amount ruinous. Read more

Army spokesman Leon-Richard Kasonga declined to say how many Ugandan soldiers were in Congo, how long the joint mission would last, or what toll had been imposed on the ADF.

“Patience,” he said during the briefing. “We have just started. “

President Félix Tshisekedi had for months pressured neighbors for help. His own efforts to end decades of bloodshed in eastern Congo have been hampered by poor planning, corruption and insufficient funding, according to a parliamentary report. Read more

“I just saw 30 vehicles full of Ugandan soldiers entering the Congo. I also saw two tanks, ”said Blaise Bokassa, a resident of Nobili. Another witness, a civil rights activist, said he saw “many vehicles with hundreds of Ugandan soldiers”.

A Ugandan army spokesperson said they could not comment immediately.

Nelleke Van de Walle of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said the operation appeared to be more ambitious than the last time Uganda attacked the ADF in Congo, in 2017, when she said she had killed 100 fighters in airstrikes.

Ugandan opposition lawmaker Joel Ssenyonyi said the government should have sought permission from Parliament for the deployment.

“We are concerned that we are seeing the same illegal activities that occurred during the last deployment – the theft of gold and other commodities. “

The ADF, which started as an uprising in Uganda but has been based in Congo since the late 1990s, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in 2019. However, UN researchers have found no evidence of control. Islamic State on ADF operations. Read more

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Reporting by Erikas Mwisi Kambale, Elias Biryabarema, Hereward Holland and Alessandra Prentice; Written by Hereward Holland and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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