In a statement made on September 7, 2023, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced that Ugandan military operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had resulted in the neutralization of 567 militants affiliated with the Islamic State. President Museveni made this declaration during his visit to Nairobi, Kenya, on February 11, 2020. Image by - AP

Uganda's President Announces Successful Operation in DRC, Hundreds of Militants Neutralised

Uganda's military operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed over 560 militants since 2021.

Columnist Today
Columnist Today

Table of Contents

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced on November 10th that Uganda's military operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has killed over 560 militants since 2021. However, analysts warn that Museveni's related call for Congolese militias to supplement efforts against the ISIS-linked ADF risks aggravating instability.

On March 9, 2023, Red Cross volunteers solemnly bore the body of a civilian who had tragically lost their life in the village of Mukondi, located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This heart-wrenching event unfolded as the Allied Democratic Forces launched an attack on the village, resulting in the loss of at least 36 lives and the destruction of residents' homes. Image by - AP

In an address, Museveni claimed Uganda's Operation Shujaa has inflicted major damage on the ADF in eastern DRC. He cited 567 rebels killed, 50 captured, and 32 surrendered, with multiple ammunition caches seized. The ADF has been largely expelled from bordering areas and pushed toward Ituri province.

woman carrying bunch of banana on head walking near motorcycle
Photo by maxime niyomwungeri / Unsplash

Museveni credited Ugandan troops with "clearing" the Rwenzori mountains of ADF presence alongside Congolese forces. But he admitted the militants retain some capacity to regroup and cause trouble absent continuous military pressure.

In response, the Ugandan leader proposed deploying local Congolese militia to guard recaptured villages and prevent ADF re-infiltration. Mobile Ugandan units would actively pursue rebels under this approach, with militia providing static village defense.

people walking beside stores
Photo by Antoine Plüss / Unsplash

However, analysts warn enlisting local armed groups risks further destabilizing conflict-prone eastern Congo. Empowering militia forces with murky allegiances could sow increased violence toward civilians.

Uganda considers the ADF an acute national security threat due to a spate of deadly bombings attributed to the group on Ugandan soil. Museveni vowed retaliation for attempted attacks on Kampala using improvised explosive devices in November.

man walking beside his bicycle
Photo by Random Institute / Unsplash

But completely neutralizing the ADF's cross-border capabilities has proven elusive for Ugandan forces. Mountainous jungle terrain and porous borders limit military efforts. Persistent ADF attacks despite claimed Ugandan progress also test Museveni's reassurances.

Moreover, distrust between Ugandan and Congolese forces complicates coordinated counterinsurgency operations. Congo controversially declined to renew a previous UPDF authorization to pursue the ADF on Congolese soil. Museveni may lack influence with Congo's government to effectively implement joint security initiatives.

a large boat filled with lots of logs
Photo by Vladimir Oprisko / Unsplash

Still, the UPDF remains determined to degrade the ADF, which has killed thousands of Congolese civilians while increasingly targeting Uganda. Expanding cooperation with volatile local militias signals Uganda's commitment to containing the threat through unconventional means if required.

But such calculated risks have backfired before in the Congo. Indigenous armed groups have violently turned on each other and the government during periods of instability. Empowering militia to fight the ADF today could sow the seeds of greater upheaval tomorrow.

With ISIS injecting the ADF with weapons and tactical training in recent years, a purely military solution remains elusive. A comprehensive political and economic stabilization strategy in neglected eastern Congo is widely seen as the only sustainable remedy to rebel recruitment and attacks.

In the absence of such comprehensive approaches, Museveni appears resigned to indefinite counterinsurgency operations against a fluid ADF threat. But his controversial gambit to supplement UPDF troops with local militias could have unpredictable consequences. With armed groups and civiliansboth suffering from ADF attacks, Museveni may be wise to exercise caution before adding fuel to Congo's complex conflict.

Reference -

Global ConflictsWorld NewsUgandaUgandan President Yoweri MuseveniDemocratic Republic of the CongoDRC Militants560 Militants Killed in Military action by UgandaAllied Democratic ForcesADFConflict Between Ugandan and Congolese

Columnist Today Twitter

LIVE Updated News, Latest News, National News, Breaking News, International & Global News Coverage, Geopolitics, Editorial, Social Issues & Advocacy and Latest Current Affairs from around the World