Nairobi, March 29 (EFE). Uganda will send troops to neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today as part of a regional military force to fight rebel groups, Ugandan armed forces spokesman Felix Kulaygi reports.
The deployment of the Ugandan contingent of the EAC regional force “will begin today to join their colleagues in eastern DRC,” Kulayji told the government newspaper New Vision.
In 2022, the Ugandan army will send an advance team to prepare for this larger mobilization, in which about a thousand soldiers will participate.
The Ugandan army is expected to join their Kenyan counterparts, who deployed last November to Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, to protect the city’s international airport from possible attacks by the M23 rebels.).
Burundi and South Sudan also sent soldiers within the regional force, as well as Angola, despite the fact that this country does not belong to the group of East African countries (Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
The regional military force began to spread at the end of last year after the March 23 movement was reactivated in March 2022 after several years of calm, and since then this rebel group has occupied strategic areas and locations.
Clashes between the M23 and the Congolese army displaced more than 800,000 people last year, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The rebel advance coincides with an escalation of tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda over Kigali’s alleged collaboration with the M23.
Rwanda has long denied this point, despite at least two UN reports confirming the cooperation.
The Ugandan army has already been present in eastern DRC since November 2021, when the Congolese and Ugandan armed forces began a joint operation that is still ongoing against the rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces, a group of Ugandan origin.
Since 1998, eastern DRC has been mired in conflict fueled by rebel militias and attacks by army soldiers, despite the presence of the United Nations peacekeeping mission (MONUSCO) in the country. EFE
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