Uganda’s military has announced that it would withdraw hundreds of troops dispatched last year to assist the Democratic Republic of Congo in combating insurgency.
Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the military commander of Uganda‘s land troops, said Operation Shujaa was only supposed to last six months and will finish next month unless an extension was reached.
“Operation Shujaa will officially cease in about 2 weeks according to our original agreement,” tweeted Uganda’s land forces commander Muhoozi Kainerugaba on Tuesday, using the code name Shujaa which is Swahili for “hero”.
“It was supposed to last for 6 months. Unless I get further instructions from our Commander-in-Chief or CDF (chief of defence forces), I will withdraw all our troops from DRC in 2 weeks,” added Kainerugaba, who is also Museveni’s son.
Both countries must agree on the terms and timetable for Uganda’s withdrawal, according to DR Congo authorities.
Uganda committed 1,700 soldiers to join Congolese troops in a combined operation against rebels known as the Allied Democratic Forces in December.
The ADF started as a Ugandan revolt but has been based in Congo since the late 1990s. It declared allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) in mid-2019 and has been accused of killing hundreds of civilians in raids over the last two years.
Since the late 1990s, the ADF has operated in the DRC’s North Kivu province near the border with Uganda. While repeated military offensives against the ADF have severely affected it, the ADF has been able to regenerate because its recruitment and financial networks have remained intact
Some of the attacks it has been blamed for also appear to have been committed by other rebel groups as well as the Congolese Armed Forces.
From 2015, the ADF experienced a radicalisation after the imprisonment of its leader Jamil Mukulu and the rise of Musa Baluku in his place. From 2019, the ADF had split, with one part remaining loyal to Mukulu, while the other had merged into the Islamic State’s Central Africa Province under Baluku
Uganda has implicated the group for the triple suicide attack in Kampala on November 16, which killed seven persons, including the bombers.
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