By Ivan Mwine
The Commander of Land Forces (CDF) of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba has revealed that forces from neighbouring Rwanda are set to join Operation Shujaa, an offensive against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Operation Shujjaa was launched by a joint force of the UPDF and Congolese armed forces FARDC in a bid to flush ADF rebels out of Congo forests, following their continued attacks on Congolese civilians and innocent Ugandans.
Although the Operation was kicked off by Ugandan and Congolese armed forces, we have since established that Rwandan forces are also set to join the offensive, in a bid to flush out insurgents who might destabilise security in Rwanda.
This development was confirmed by Lt. Gen. Muhoozi during a recent interview with veteran journalist Arinaitwe Rugyendo of ‘Media Scape News’, a news blog
Asked by Ruyyegndo whether he thinks Rwanda should join Operation Shujaa or not, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi replied;
“Yes, and I think it’s a good idea for FARDC, UPDF and RDF to pursue these negative forces west of the Komanda-Eringeti Road, and take them out once and for all so that the peoples of the three countries can live peacefully, work and trade together…”
However, Muhoozi did not divulge details of how and when Rwandan forces will join Operation Shujaa.
But is should be recalled that Muhoozi revealed a few days ago that he is set to travel to Kigali, Rwanda for a second meeting with President Paul Kagame and it is not yet clear whether that will be part of the agenda or not.
It should be noted that the joint forces launched the first phase of the operation in November 2021, through Bundibugyo Busunga-Mbau-Nobili-Kamago access point where they overran several ADF camps namely Kambi ya Yua, Bele I & 2 among others.
The UPDF contingent is being commanded by Maj. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga, who is also the UPDF Mountain Division Commander, while the DRC contingent is commanded Maj. Gen. Camille Bombele, the Commander of Operation Sukola Grand- Nord.
Operation Shujaa is being implemented following a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Uganda and the DRC to conduct joint operations for the eradication of ADF and other foreign armed groups in the eastern part of DRC.
The operations are taking place in Ituri and Grand North Provinces. It is anticipated that restoration of security will enable road construction works on the Kasindi – Beni – Butembo and Bunagana – Rutshuru – Goma highways by the two countries.