Uganda to withdraw troops from east DR Congo

In this file photo taken on December 10, 2021 soldiers with the UPDF (Uganda People's Defence Forces) are seen during a patrol in Mukakati. After two months of "mutualization" of the Ugandan and Congolese armed forces intended to overcome the ADF rebels in the east of the DRC, Kinshasa is pleased with its effectiveness in the face of an "enemy at bay" while the population grows impatient because security does not return. Sébastien KITSA MUSAYI / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 10, 2021 soldiers with the UPDF (Uganda People’s Defence Forces) are seen during a patrol in Mukakati, eastern DRC. (Photo via AFP)

Ugandan troops will withdraw from eastern DR Congo in two weeks after a joint operation against Islamist insurgents since late last year, land forces Commander Muhoozi Kainerugaba announced on Twitter on Tuesday.

“Operation Shujaa will officially cease in about 2 weeks according to our original agreement. It was supposed to last for 6 months,” tweeted Kainerugaba, adding that “Unless I get further instructions from our Commander in Chief or CDF, I will withdraw all our troops from DRC in 2 weeks.”

President Yoweri Museveni’s government sent hundreds of soldiers into eastern Congo in December to join the Congolese military in an assault on the bases of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

The ADF began as an uprising in Uganda but has been based in DR Congo since the late 1990s, pledging its allegiance to the Islamic State, and has been accused of killing hundreds of villagers over the past two years.

There was no reason given for the planned Ugandan withdrawal or update on the status of the operation against the ADF.

Uganda’s deployment of at least 1,700 soldiers constituted the largest foreign intervention in Congo in over a decade, apart from a United Nations peacekeeping operation.