By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: Uganda people’s defence forces (UPDF) troops will cease their operations in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo in two weeks after months of bombardment and hunt for Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.
This has been confirmed by the UPDF Commander of Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba saying Operation Shujaa will officially cease in about two weeks.
“Operation Shujaa will officially cease in about two weeks according to our original agreement. It was supposed to last for 6 months. Unless I get further instructions from our Commander in Chief or CDF, I will withdraw all our troops from DRC in two weeks,” Lt. Gen Kainerugaba tweeted on Tuesday afternoon.
”To be clear Operation Shujaa will continue even for another 6 months if the two Presidents, Kaguta Museveni and H.E. Tshisekedi decide to extend it. The two of them are the ultimate authorities. The Joint Forces of UPDF and FARDC are happy to keep eliminating ADF!,” he added.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) November last year launched air, artillery and ground attacks against ADF rebels in eastern DR Congo in a move against the Islamist militants after launching terror attacks with some being accused of being behind the recent terror attacks on Uganda’s capital Kampala and other places where several lives were lost.
Operation Shujaa is under the command of Maj. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga. The UPDF contingent comprises artillery, armoured, infantry and Special Forces.
The ADF has for several years operated in the volatile North Kivu which borders other provinces including Ituri to the north and South Kivu to the South and has been a battleground for a number of rival armed ethnic groups since 1998.
The province consists of three cities including; Goma, Butembo and Beni as well as six territories Beni, Lubero, Masisi, and Rutshuru.
According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the ADF which was designated as a terrorist group by the US government has used the name Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen (City of Monotheism and Holy Warriors (MTM) to refer to emphasize its links to the Islamic State.
In 2019, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an ADF attack and first referenced a “Central Africa Province.”
The organization is led by Musa Baluku, who served as a senior ADF Islamic legal official before consolidating power following Mukulu’s 2015 arrest.
The group has been blamed for last year’s bomb attacks in Kampala which killed over seven people.
Following the launch of an operation against the group in the thick DRC forests by a joint force of the UPDF and FADRC, the ADF rebels were said to have fled their hideouts and were roaming in the thick jungles after their lives were made difficult for them.
Consequently, the group has been carrying out attacks on several villages and towns where they know the joint forces are not present and looting food and animals.