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President Museveni Says Ugandan Troops Are In Congo For Peacekeeping

President Museveni has explained circumstances under which Uganda deployed more troops to Congo on Wednesday. In a Thursday statement, the president, who is also the commander in chief said the move aimed at peacekeeping.

Many had speculated that the 1000 troops had been sent there to attack the M-23 rebels.

“… in that effort, we are not going to battle or fight the M-23. The Congo government and the M-23, have agreed to a peace plan. This involves cessation of hostilities (fighting), withdrawal of the M-23 from some of the specified areas they had captured to other areas that have been agreed upon, etc,” Museveni said.

According to the president, the DRC government has been involved in peace talks with the rebels. He noted that the two should continue as is to solve the problem and return peace to Eastern DRC.

“Our initial mission, therefore, is to occupy some of the positions that the M-23 has handed over to the East African Force as a neutral force, instead of the Congolese army which the M-23 see as enemies or armed opponents in their internal politics,” he said.

Area of deployment.

He added that the troops will be in the Bunagana–Rutshuru area. This is not in order to fight the M-23, but to act as a neutral force. He said they will do this as the Congolese sort out their political issues.

The East African Regional Force plans to deploy the Ugandan troops in Bunagana and Rushturu in North Kivu.

These are the areas where the M23 have operated previously. This means that the Ugandan troops will not attack anyone unless they are attacked.

“Fighting may come later if one of the non-state armed groups does not accept peace on what we all regard as reasonable conditions. The East African authority (the Heads of State) would then, have to mandate us to fight. This is if one of the stake-holders refuses to implement the peace agreement we have agreed on,” the president said.

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