Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has demanded answers to a number of questions regarding Operation Shujaa, the UPDF’s attacks on Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in the DR Congo.
According to the Ugandan army, a combined force of UPDF elements drawn from Infantry, Motorized Brigade, Artillery, Armored and Special Forces Command moved into DR Congo and launched an offensive operation against ADF terrorists.
The operation, code named ‘Operation Shujaa’ is being commanded by Maj Gen Kayanja Muhanga and will mainly focus on weakening identified enemy camps in Yayuwa, Tondoli, Beni One and Beni Two, according to the UPDF.
“At 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,” said Maj Gen Muhanga.
Maj Gen Muhanga further revealed that Operation Shujaa, will be reviewed every after two months at strategic level to ascertain its progress on weakening enemy forces so that war and killing of innocent civilians can end.
He added that a lot of air force and artillery will be used on enemy camps to disrupt any further plan for war, further urging Ugandans and Congolese to have confidence in UPDF so that peace and security can be restored in these areas after successful elimination of ADF.
The UPDF said its combat air force and artillery recently launched successful attacks on enemy camps leaving thousands of casualties.
The army further revealed that its troops are based at Mukakati village about 18km in North Kivu province, where the overall operation commander Maj Gen Muhanga has established the Forward Operations Base as a launchpad for the offensive operation against ADF terrorists.
But the FDC has demanded answers to a number of questions on the UPDF’s intervention in DR Congo.
According to deputy FDC spokesperson John Kikonyogo, government must answer a number of questions, including:
Why are we fighting in DRC?
Who is financing this war? Is it Ugandan taxpayers, is it DRC government, is it East African Community, United Nations (UN) or other interested parties?
The people we are fighting in Congo are fellow Ugandans, have we failed on all other avenues to deal with the situation apart from fighting?
Uganda has been at the forefront of helping other countries like Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi and DRC itself to help in the process to end their internal wars through dialogue, why can’t we use the same measures to end our internal grievances with our own people?
FDC has also warned that mistakes from previous wars in DR Congo could be replicated in the current intervention.
“The Kisangani scandal of Ten Billion Dollars (10b dollars) slapped on Ugandans far back between 1998-2003 should serve as a lesson to MR. Musevenis’ government, Uganda should not go back to the same now or a repeat of the in future. As a country, we must avoid reckless loss of lives and property which come with heavy financial and diplomatic complications. Commanders of such Operations should take heed because today the whole world is watching,” said Kikonyogo.
“It has become a habit for Ugandans to only receive apologies after errors, yet it’s a constitutional requirement for the president to inform Parliament in case there is need to deploy our army out of the country. UPDF should clear out the operation with parliament as per the Ugandan constitution because; this is a legal requirement before foreign deployment of Ugandan troops are made.”