The Congolese government confirms the operation of “air strikes and artillery fire from Uganda” against an armed group responsible for the attacks in Kampala.
The Ugandan army has launched air and artillery raids against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as part of an operation agreed with Congolese forces .
“This morning we launched joint air and artillery strikes against ADF camps with our Congolese allies,” a Uganda People’s Defense Force spokesperson said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
This morning, we launched joint air and artillery strikes against ADF camps with our Congolese allies.
— UPDF spokesperson (@UPDFspokespersn) November 30, 2021
For his part, Patrick Muyaya, DRC Government Spokesman and Minister of Communication, said “a targeted and concerted action with the Ugandan army began today with airstrikes and artillery fire from Uganda against the positions of ADF terrorists in the DRC”.
Ugandan authorities accused the ADF of deadly suicide attacks in the capital, Kampala, earlier this month. The armed group has been accused of carrying out dozens of attacks in eastern DRC.
The DRC government said on Monday that the two armies had been exchanging information for many months and that no Ugandan troops were currently in the country.
“We didn’t say there would be joint operations. We said there will be concerted actions,” Muyaya said at a press conference, without giving further details. “If we have to take it up a notch, we will.”
Residents said they heard explosions on Tuesday morning in Watalinga territory in North Kivu province on the eastern DRC border.
“There is real panic here at home, especially because we have not been informed of this situation,” resident Julien Ngandayabo told Reuters news agency. “We suffered too much with the ADF who massacred our families. We are waiting to see if this is the solution.
Watalinga chefferie chief Pascal Saambili said the community woke up to the sound of heavy shelling which continued into the morning.
Chatham House analyst Alex Vines, speaking to Al Jazeera from Nairobi, said the ADF was very active in eastern DRC.
“The ADF is a vicious organization that has killed thousands of people in eastern DRC, after being properly driven out of Uganda,” he said.
The ADF was founded in Uganda in 1995 and later moved to the DRC where it is one of dozens of armed groups seeking to control territory and mineral resources in the east of the country.
The group, which the United States has officially linked to ISIL (ISIS), has been blamed for the November 16 suicide bombings in the heart of Uganda’s capital that killed seven people, including the three suicide bombers, and injured others. dozens more.
The November 16 attack was the third claimed by ISIL in Uganda. He also claimed responsibility for an attack at a pork restaurant in a Kampala suburb on October 23 that killed a waitress while a third attack on October 8 killed no one.
In recent days, reports about the proposed cross-border campaign have raised concern among some Congolese, who recall Uganda’s role in the civil wars that ended in 2003.
The Congolese government is still seeking more than $13 billion in reparations from Uganda for its involvement in the conflict.