The security forces of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have warned of a plot by an unnamed armed group to scuttle and discredit their military operation in the east DR Congo to eliminate the threat of an Islamist-linked rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
In a joint statement, Uganda and the DR Congo said the group aims to create hostility towards the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and the Congolese army (FARDC) among locals and cause panic by impersonating Ugandan forces with an aim of causing chaos and damage.
“By wearing UPDF uniform and insignia, the members of this group plan to resort to this subterfuge to camouflage themselves to be able to go on an atrocious rampage to wreck unscalable havoc, including massacres, in order to badly injure the image of the UPDF, ultimately creating the belief that it is the UPDF attacking the people they have saved and protected, so far,” a statement signed by Brigadier General Flavia Byekwaso and Major General Léon Richard Kasonga, spokesmen of UPDF and FARDC, respectively, said.
The statement cited an incident earlier this month when uniform similar to the UPDF was discovered among an assortment of goods inside a commercial truck intercepted by customs authorities in the city of Butembo in North Kivu province. The vehicle, its cargo and its handlers are still being held at the city’s customs office.
The UPDF and FARDC reassured the public that this development will not make them waver in their mission to defeat the rebels and maintained that they respect human rights, international law and humanitarian aid and rules of engagement.
In November last year, Ugandan and Congolese forces launched joint air and artillery strikes in the DR Congo’s eastern region against Islamist-allied ADF rebels.
The offensive came in the wake of Islamic State saying their local affiliate was responsible for an attack in the Ugandan capital Kampala on November 16 that killed at least seven people, including the three bombers, and injured dozens more.
The offensive has reported some successes thus far, among them the seizure and destruction of a number of ADF training camps, the arrest of several architects involved in recruiting rebels, in addition to the release of several hostages.