The Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Team under the Field Engineering Unit of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces Contingent serving under the East African Community Regional Force has safely disposed of 18 pieces of assorted unexploded ordinances ranging from rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) bombs, main battle tank bombs, anti-tank bombs, 82-millimetre recoilless bombs, bomb fuses, hand grenade and assorted live ammunition of assault rifle weapons from several plantations, fields and bushes within the villages of Mabenga.
The Commanding Officer of the 9th battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Mawanda Lubega said that since the UPDF Contingent occupied the general areas of Mabenga, peace and calmness have been restored and as a result, the civilians have gone back to cultivate their fields but are faced with a challenge of unexploded ordinances left behind as a result of previous wars.
Lt Col Lubega noted that the UPDF Contingent has the obligation of protecting the ‘wanainchi’ against the dangers of the unexploded ordinances adding that some of the bombs were still functional and pose a great danger to human lives and animals if tampered with.
The UPDF EOD Field Engineering Commander Major Aine Julius said that the community heeded their advice about the management of the explosives and advised the community to be vigilant and careful when dealing with unknown materials because the bombs are deadly and can cause death once they explode.
Farmers from Mabenga lauded the UPDF EACRF Contingent for the efforts towards removing the ordinances. They called upon EACRF and partners to come to their rescue and rid of the general areas of North Kivu because their lives depend on agriculture and animal husbandry.
Mabenga is 37 kilometres from Rutshuru-Kiwanja town centre. It is one of the food-producing areas of North Kivu where food and cash crops ranging from maize, soya, beans, cassava and sorghum are produced to sustain the population of not only Rutshuru territory but North Kivu and beyond.