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UPDF hands over 34 rescued abductees to DRC

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Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) has handed over 34 rescued people to the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The handover was held at the headquarters of the UPDF Mountain Division headquarters, Muhooti barracks, 3km from Fort Portal city, in the Kabarole district.

The 34 were handed over by the UPDF Land Force Commander Lt. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga to Brig. Gen. Antoine Gbiagolo- Ngondo, who led a six-member team of senior FARDC officers and diplomats from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) embassy in Kampala.

Brig. Gen. Antoine Gbiagolo-Ngondo promised, on behalf of FARDC and Kinshasa that the 34 will be rehabilitated before they are reunited with their families in Eastern DRC.

The 34 were rescued after the different attacks the joint UPDF/FARDC made against ADF terrorists in Eastern DRC in the operation code-named Operation ‘Shujja’.

The rescued included children, women and men. The majority of them were abducted by ADF from their gardens and forced into terror acts.

According to Lt. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga, the rescued were flown from Tokomeka to Uganda as there is no road network from the area where they were rescued from. The 34 have been taken care of by the UPDF since their rescue from ADF.

The overall commander of Operation Shujja and commander of the UPDF Mountain Division Maj Gen Dick Olum thanked ‘Wanainchi’ (civilians) of both countries for the continued support rendered to UPDF/FARDC during the joint operations which have seen many operational objectives realized.

Meanwhile, UPDF also held a joint operation review meeting with FARDC to review the operation’s success and challenges with the view of capitalizing on success and solving challenges respectively.

Since the joint operation commenced 14 months ago, there has been overwhelming success including stopping murders in Ituri and North Kivu provinces that had ADF terrorists marauding in the villages.

According to Maj. Bilal Katamba, the UPDF Mountain Division Public Information Officer who also speaks for the joint operation, the operation has recovered many weapons from the ADF, denied them freedom of recruitment, disrupted their logistical supplies, and arrested a number of their collaborators.

“If this joint synergy continues with this momentum, we shall see the end of this monster called ADF,” Maj Katamba noted.

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