Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) serving under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) for peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has today taken over key strategic positions of Kiwanja (Rutshuru territory) which was previously occupied by the March 23 Movement (M23) in Northern Kivu-DRC Congo as they prepare to leave Mabenga.
The sequential deployment of the Uganda Contingent troops and the withdrawal of the M23 is in compliance with the decision and consideration of 20th extraordinary summit of the East African Community heads of state held in Bujumbura-Burundi on 4th February 2023 and the East African Chief of Defence Forces meeting of 9th of Feb 2023 respectively.
The summit directed for the serial withdrawal and deployment of the East African Community Regional Force and the immediate posturing of the troops in areas vacated by the M23.
Col Michael Walakal Hyeroba, the Contingent Commander of the Uganda Contingent Force said that “the compliance of the decisions made from the summit by the M23 is a very important factor in the reinstatement of peace and stability in North Kivu” adding that the occupation of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Force in North Kivu yielded confidence in the civilians who had initially fled after being told of an imminent war between the UPDF and the M23.
He called them to come back to their homes and continue with their normal life as the East African Community Regional Force is a neutral force meant to secure a peaceful and stable environment for feature stability and creation of a condition for normalcy.
Uyezu Gloria, a prominent businesswoman from the small town of Kiwanja-Rutshu in Northern Province welcomed the deployment of the Uganda contingent troops in the general areas of Kiwanja as she lamented that the area is moderately peaceful but with the deployment of UPDF, the entire civil community rests assured of security and normalcy.
All positions occupied by the UPDF in Bunagana-DRC have been secured and the situation is registered calm with no violence as the civil populace is already enjoying the dividends of peace brought by the Uganda contingent.