“We were at one time in Liberia, we are in Somalia, we have been to South Sudan, Central African Republic and to DR many times.
This force has a mission to witness the process of achieving peace in eastern DRC. We have not come to attack like the other side (under operation Shuja). Our work is not to start attacking belligerents there but witness and ensure the implementation of the decisions taken by the heads of state. We are not going as enemies of anybody there.”
The Ugandan contingent will among others be charged with opening blocked routes. It will also protect civilians against attacks by M23 rebels. Col Mike Hairoba will command this team.
Speaking during the flag-off, Col Hairoba said the Ugandan troops in DRC will be ambassadors of peace.
“I want to assure you that we have trained and are ready for the task the region has assigned to us. With us as UPDF and now as part of EACRF, we have a strategic relationship with the civilians wherever we find them. The relationship is like fish and water. Without the support of the locals we can’t operate effectively. I ask local population to support us to deliver to you the most required item of life- safety,” Col Hairoba said.
He also warned the soldiers, that the issue of discipline will not be negotiable
“We have had the pre-mission training and the rules of engagement are very clear to us all. Let us adhere to them.”
Furthermore, the mission will put Ugandan troops in charge of sector 3 in the North of Bunia in Ituri province. They join other troops from Burundi and Kenya. They deployed these in sectors one in South Kivu and two which oversee North Kivu respectively.
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