Uganda army reported on Monday that they will send around 1000 troops to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by the end of November to join a regional group designated to help in putting an end to the decades of unrest.
Uganda’s army spokesman Felix Kulayigye said that following the arrival of contingents from Kenya and Burundi, Uganda will be the third country to deploy troops.
The fighting between the Congolese military and the M23 rebel groups has been intense in the volatile area in recent months, leading the East African Community(EAC) bloc to send in a joint regional force to put an end to the bloodshed.
In April, the seven members of the East African Community (EAC), to which Congo was admitted this year, decided to establish a force to combat militia groups in the eastern part of the Congo.
Kenya’s troops arrived on November 12 and following them Uganda would deploy troops by the end of this month.
“We are doing final mentoring of our troops before inserting them into the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo before the end of this month to join our colleagues from Kenya who are already on the ground,” Kulayigye said.
Felix Kulayigye added that they are sending about 1000 soldiers on the mission without giving an exact date of departure.
The involvement of Uganda has been opposed by certain officials and activist groups due to its involvement of Uganda in the bloody civil wars in Congo.
Uganda had paid Congo $65 million in September as the first installment of a total of $325 million in compensation for losses brought on by Uganda and its troops in the 1990s.
Hundreds of Ugandan troops from a different bilateral agreement that was deployed over a year ago to help find the Islamic State-aligned group Allied Democratic Forces(ADF) are already based in Eastern Congo.
Regional tensions were revived as a result of the conflict, with Congo accusing its smaller neighbor Rwanda of supporting the M23, a claim that has also been made recently by UN experts and US officials.
More than 120 armed groups, including M23 rebels, continue to operate across major portions of eastern Congo despite billions of dollars being spent on one of the United nation’s largest peacekeeping operations.
This year, the M23 launched a significant offensive that resulted in the seizure of territory, the eviction of thousands from their homes, and the outbreak of a diplomatic row between the Congo and Rwanda.
The disputes between Uganda, Congo, and Rwanda wasn’t started recently. They were having conflicts since the 1990s.
Following the 80,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu deaths in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, millions of Rwandan refugees poured into the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
After the genocide, a new Tutsi government was formed in Rwanda and more than two million Hutus fled to eastern Congo.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, only 7% of these refugees, who are frequently referred to as Interahamwe or FDLR( the Federation for the Liberation of Rwanda), are thought to have been responsible for the genocide.
Following this dispute, In 1996 Rwanda and Uganda invaded the eastern DRC in an effort to arrest any surviving genocide offenders. Eventually, this invasion led to the first Congo War.
Later, from 1998 to 2003, the Congo government forces followed by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe fought rebels assisted by Rwanda and Uganda in what is known as the Second Congo War.
In 2008, Rwanda and DRC came together to get rid of the FDLR in the South and North Kivu provinces.
With numerous armed groups terrorizing residents and obstructing the way to long-term peace, the peace process in eastern Congo remains fragile.
So as per the reports, Uganda will send around 1000 troops to DRC in order to put an end to the conflict that Congo and Uganda had for years by the end of this month.