UPDF claims sinister plans to disrupt its much-criticised DR Congo operation

Photo of Uganda and DRC army officers in Congo (PHOTO /Courtesy)

The FADRC and UPDF joint forces in DR Congo have alleged the existence of an armed group intending to sabotage the highly criticised ongoing joint military operations against the alleged Allied Democratic Forces (ADF)

The operations ostensibly against the ADF in DR Congo, started at the end of November last year when the combined UPDF Air Force and artillery shelled Kambi Ya Yua, Tondoli, Belu1, and Belu2 which are found in North Kivu province in Virunga and Ituri impenetrable forests of Eastern DRC.

ADF militias have been blamed for the recent attacks in Kampala that left over seven people dead last year.

In a joint press statement issued by UPDF spokesperson Brig Gen Flavia Byekwaso and her Congolese army counterpart, Maj. Gen. Leon Richard Kasonga Cibangu on Monday, claimed the an armed group is harboring sinister clandestine plans deliberately intended to sabotage the military actions against ADF and to discredit the operation.

The statement adds that the alleged vicious mission is also aimed at creating generalized panic and stampede in the population.

The two publicists claimed the army had obtained information that on January 6th, 2022 a commercial truck whose registration has been withheld carrying assorted goods was intercepted by the customs officers in Butembo.

On inspection, the army claimed, the officers discovered clothing’s similar to that of UPDF uniform.

Its reported that the consignment was for a re-known businessman in Butembo.

“The truck and its handlers are still held at the customs office-Butembo,” the statement reads.

The joint forces claim the armed group is planning to camouflage to be able to go on an atrocious rampage to wreak havoc that includes massacres in order to damage the reputation of UPDF.

“…ultimately creating the belief that it’s the UPDF attacking the people they have saved and protected so far” the stamen read in parts.

Ugandan troops previously entered Congo in the 1990s to uproot the ADF a rebel Ugandan group that had established bases there.

But Ugandan soldiers eventually got sucked into the country’s various wars including helping to topple the country’s long-serving dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, and twice clashing with their erstwhile ally, Rwanda.

The U.N. report, however, says UPDF soldiers committed grave crimes during its operations, some of which could be classified as war crimes.

The U.N. report documented several incidents in Congo where UPDF soldiers are accused of atrocities such as massacres of civilians, torture and destroying critical civilian infrastructure.

“In the town of Beni, UPDF soldiers instituted a reign of terror for several years with complete impunity. They carried out summary executions of civilians, arbitrarily detained large numbers of people and subjected them to torture and various other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatments,” the report said.

The report said the UPDF used a particularly cruel form of detention that involved putting detainees into deep holes in the ground, where they were forced to live exposed to bad weather.

In one incident, the UPDF was accused of disabling the turbines on the Inga dam in 1998, depriving the capital Kinshasa and a large areas in the province of Bas-Congo of electricity for three weeks.

The U.N. report said this act had caused the deaths of numerous people by making property essential to the survival of the civilian population unusable and that it could be classified as a war crime under international humanitarian law.

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