Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The military operation launched against the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF in the Democratic Republic of Congo will only come to an end when the group is completely defeated, the UPDF has announced.
Early this week, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF and the DRC forces launched a joint operation code-named “Military Suja (Hero), against the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF militants in neighbouring Congo, an offensive that Ugandan officials said was intended to drive the militants out of their bases.
A combined force of UPDF drawn from Infantry, Motorized Brigade, Artillery, Armored and Special Forces Command established its tactical base in Mukakati village, about 18 kilometres from Busunga border point on Uganda’s side in North Kivu province. Here, the overall operation commander, Maj Gen Kayanja Muhanga has established the Forward Operations Base as a launch pad for the offensive operation against ADF terrorists.
Major General Muhanga says that the operation will mainly focus on weakening identified enemy camps in Yayuwa, Tondoli, Beni One and Beni Two and create a conducive environment between the population of the two countries.
Gen. Muhanga says they have got information that the air force and artillery assaults launched on identified enemy defence locations on Tuesday left a number of casualties on the ADF side. He adds that they have sent ground troops to spy on the enemy bases. Maj Gen Muhanga further noted that a lot of air force and artillery will be used on enemy camps to disrupt any further plan for war.
Muhanga urged Ugandans and Congolese to have confidence in UPDF so that peace and security can be restored in these areas after the successful elimination of ADF. He added that they are ready to work with DRC forces to ensure peace returns to Eastern DRC.
“At the tactical level, we had a lot of engagements with FARDC commanders on the way forward and how the operation against ADF terrorists can be effected,” explained Gen Muhanga. He however observed that Operation Suja will be reviewed every after two months at the strategic level to ascertain its progress on weakening enemy forces so that war and killing of innocent civilians can end.
Maj. Peter Mugisa, the spokesperson for Operation Suja said that UPDF trucks and other heavy equipment are stuck due to the bad terrain and rain but they were set to receive loaders and graders to clear the route so that they can advance towards the enemy lines estimated to be 20 kilometres from Mukakati.
Mugisa adds that a number of ADF members have surrendered to the government forces calling upon others to do so. “We advise and we call upon all those who are listening better surrender to come to us then we shall cater for you,” Mugisa said.
Armed groups have been trying to control gold, cobalt and other mines for nearly 20 years through attacks and clashes in the East of DRC which borders Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.