Uganda: Inside Meeting That Gave Greenlight On UPDF Strikes On ADF Bases in DRC

Armed Forces of the DR Congo and MONUSCO repelled an ADF attack on February 12, 2020 in North Kivu (file photo).
1 December 2021
Nile Post News (Kampala)

In the morning of Friday, November, 5, 2021, a delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo armed forces(FARDC) led by the Chief of General Staff, Gen Célestin Mbala Munsense arrived at State House in Entebbe ahead of a meeting with their Ugandan counterparts UPDF.

In the morning of Friday, November, 5, 2021, a delegation from the Democratic Republic of Congo armed forces(FARDC) led by the Chief of General Staff, Gen Célestin Mbala Munsense arrived at State House in Entebbe ahead of a meeting with their Ugandan counterparts UPDF.

The meeting started at 9am and was attended by President Museveni, UPDF top brass led by the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Wilson Mbadi.

The Congolese side first extended greetings from President Tshisekedi to his counterpart, President Museveni who was also hailed for the cordial relations between the two countries.

According to deepthroat sources, in the meeting, both sides agreed that it was inevitable to attack ADF bases together since the group poses a threat to both countries.

ADF rebels have killed a number of people in the volatile Ituri region in DRC whereas the rebel group that was also declared a terrorist organization has been blamed for several bomb attacks in Uganda.

"It is in the meeting that the two sides agreed they needed to fight the ADF together since the group is a common enemy," the source told the Nile Post.

The meeting also discussed the road network project in the DRC that would facilitate security in the area and in order to achieve the "dream" ADF that threatened the construction works had to be dealt with.

MOU

Both parties later signed a Memorandum of Understanding that gave greenlight for joint operations between the two armies.

On Uganda's behalf, the Chief of Defence Forces in the UPDF, Gen Wilson Mbadi appended signature whereas the Chief of General Staff, Gen Célestin Mbala Munsense signed on behalf of FARDC.

"The MOU signed on November, 5, 2021 paved way for cooperation on intelligence and fighting terrorism," another source told this website.

On Tuesday morning the UPDF announced it had launched air and artillery raids against ADF camps in Eastern DRC.

"This morning, we have launched joint air and artillery strikes against ADF camps with our Congolese allies," UPDF spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso tweeted.

Background

The ADF was formed out of remnants of the National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU) and Jamilu Mukulu was the group's founding leader until a few years ago when he was captured by the Tanzanian forces and repatriated back to Uganda where he is currently facing charges related to terrorism.

They operate in North Kivu which borders other provinces including Ituri to the north and South Kivu to the South and has been a battle ground 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, Rutshuru.

Previously, ADF rebels terrorised the Rwenzori region in the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole for almost 10 years.

During the insurgency, the rebels are believed to have killed more than 3,000 people and displaced 100,000.

On June 8, 1998, the rebels raided Uganda Technical College Kichwamba in Kabarole district and burnt 80 students alive in three dormitories and abducted others.

They were however flushed out by the UPDF .

In 2013, more than 10,000 refugees crossed into Uganda at the Busunga border post in Bundibugyo district.

They fled after rebels attacked the town of Kamango, 11 kilometres from the DRC-Uganda border.

A 2014 combat evaluation report by the then DR Congo's army commander, Gen Didier Etumba Longila presented in meeting with his Ugandan counterpart then, Gen Katumba Wamala on May 7, 2014 in Beni, the rebel group had killed 217 DR Congo soldiers whereas 444 had been injured in a period of just five months.

By 2017, the UPDF estimated that the group that had been weakened had started to regroup and by then, it was estimated to have between 700 and 900 fighters and they had resumed causing mayhem in the region.

Whereas the group was believed to have reduced in size and coupled with their founding commander, Jamilu Mukulu being jailed in Uganda, the ADF has of late remerged and carried out attacks especially in Eastern Congo.

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