Ugandan Troops Deny Allegations of Involvement with M23 Rebels in Eastern DR Congo

Ugandan troops, currently deployed on a peacekeeping mission in North Kivu province, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, have vehemently rejected recent claims of collaboration with the March 23 Movement (M23) in Masisi territory. Reports circulated by the Wazalendo militia coalition accused Ugandan forces of fighting alongside M23 rebels in Mushaki, Masisi territory, and even asserted the arrest and killing of Ugandan troops during confrontations in Mushaki.

In response to these allegations, Ugandan troops, represented by spokesperson Captain Ahmed Hassan Kato, issued a statement on Sunday dismissing the accusations as baseless propaganda. Captain Kato emphasized that the claims were designed to tarnish the image of Ugandan forces and disrupt the ongoing withdrawal process mandated by the Heads of State Summits and the East African Community Chiefs of Defense Forces meetings.

Contrary to Wazalendo’s assertions, Captain Kato clarified that Ugandan troops had never operated in Mushaki. The mission’s focus, as specified in its mandate, was to maintain peace in Rutshuru territory, specifically in areas such as Bunagana, Mabenga, Tshengerero, and Kiwanja—not Masisi.

Captain Kato highlighted that Ugandan forces were actively complying with directives to withdraw from the Democratic Republic of Congo issued by regional leadership. He urged the public to be wary of misinformation circulating on social media and clarified that the withdrawal was being conducted in adherence to regional decisions.

Meanwhile, M23 rebels continued their advance from Mushaki to Kirotshe, Ngungu, and Murambi towards Kagano. The rebels also extended their control from Mushaki to Kabaya 2 in the mountains overlooking Bihambwe town. Wazalendo forces are deployed in Bihambwe, working to impede M23’s progress toward the Rubaya mining area in Masisi.

The conflict, sparked in March 2022 by M23 led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga, revolves around accusations of Rwandan support for M23, an allegation strongly denied by both Rwanda and M23. The rebels claim to be fighting against perceived governance issues in DR Congo, citing corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination as their motives.

Source: PM Daily

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