Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi with Museveni during a recent meeting

President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that the insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is fueled by the presence of illegal guns circulating within the country since independence.

Museveni said the guns currently being held by foreign armed groups have all these years been killing Congolese and disturbing neighbors.

The mineral-rich country is grappling with insecurities by the M23 and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel groups in eastern DRC. According to the United Nations High Commission (UNHCR) at least 71,000 refugees have crossed into Uganda from the DRC since January, which is expected to double by the end of this year.

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“The internal armed groups of Congo that came from the weakening of the state authority of Eastern DRC for a prolonged period can be handled by combining the political methods; dialogue and if necessary, the military method if there’s any group that is adamant and doesn’t want peace,” Museveni said yesterday.

He said the armed groups causing insecurity could be defeated if regional leaders harmonize efforts. “If any group doesn’t respect the formula reached after the dialogues, the combined resources of East Africa will be brought down on them. No force can defy the combined efforts of East Africa,” he said.

In July, regional leaders resolved to deploy EAC Joint Regional Force for a period of six months after which the deployment would be evaluated. Currently, Kenyan soldiers are deployed along Rwanda and DRC border for peacekeeping missions.

Earlier this month, M23 a militia group formed in 2012 to defend the interests of Congolese Tutsis against Hutu armed groups saw the rebels reportedly seize two towns, consolidating gains since its resurgence last year, after many commanders who had joined the national army accused the government of failing to honor a demobilization agreement.

Currently, the UDF and Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) are conducting Operation Shujaa aimed at flashing out the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) terrorists in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Since the launch of operations in November 2021, the joint forces captured over 34 ADF terrorists and killed and injured scores of them. Last month, the DRC renewed UPDF’S contract maintaining its presence in Felix Tshekedi’s country.

The two Forces are currently engaged in road construction and rehabilitation works to facilitate and further secure the movement of soldiers and the displaced civilian population, particularly on Mbau- Kamango and Mobili axes, Kamango-Semuliki- Beni.

In November 2021, the two Forces launched joint air and artillery strikes against ADF camps. The attack on ADF camps follows three terror attacks that claimed four lives and scores injured. According to police, the first explosion occurred at Digida Pork joint in Komamboga, Lungala along Kampala Masaka Highway, Parliamentary Avenue, and Kampala Central Police Station (CPS).

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