By Our Reporter
The Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) that had been deployed in the DRC under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) has started crossing back to Uganda.
This has been revealed by Col Deo Akiiki, the Deputy Defence Spokesperson in a brief statement this afternoon, 13th December, 2023.
Col Akiiki says the gallant forces are crossing the border at Bunagana back to Uganda after withdrawing from the mission area in Eastern DRC.
UPDF was among the last Forces to withdraw from the DRC. Kenyan troops began withdrawing from the DRC on Sunday, 10th December, 2023, a week after East African Community (EAC) leaders agreed with Kinshasa to end the EACRF’s mandate in the country.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi has repeatedly criticized the East African Community force since its deployment in Nov. 2022 for failing to enforce the withdrawal of the M23, a rebel group claiming to represent the interests of ethnic Tutsis.
The presidency announced it would not be renewing its mandate after an EAC summit in late November.
A different force from the Southern African Development Community is due to replace the EAC troops, but the date of its arrival and the length of its mandate have not been announced.
The strategic reshuffling highlights the difficulty of stabilizing the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, where Congo declared a state of siege two years ago to address worsening militia violence.
Clashes with the M23 rebels have moved closer to Goma in recent weeks, deepening concerns the insecurity could derail presidential, legislative, and regional elections on Dec. 20.