UPDF Denies Involvement In DRC

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In short
Army spokesperson, Lt. Colonel Paddy Ankunda, says on July 12 Okapi Radio, the official UN broadcaster in DRC and AFP published reports quoting Teddy Kataliko, the chairperson of the Civil Society in Beni making wild allegations against UPDF.

Uganda People's Defense Forces-UPDF has dismissed claims of its alleged involvement in the unrest in Beni in Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC. Army spokesperson, Lt. Colonel Paddy Ankunda, says on July 12 Okapi Radio, the official UN broadcaster in DRC and AFP published reports quoting Teddy Kataliko, the chairperson of the Civil Society in Beni making wild allegations against UPDF.

 

According to Ankunda, Kataliko was quoted calling on the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region-ICGLR and DRC government to investigate "Uganda's involvement in the insecurity scourging Beni territory". He accused the Ugandan Army of killing Civilians in Beni alongside the rebel Allied Democratic Front (ADF).

 
The accusations came after the DRC Army shot dead two men wearing what looked like the old and de-gazetted UPDF uniform at Kotongo, a village at the border with Uganda. 


"We demand a joint investigation with the ICGLR. We feel that it is high time for the Congolese Government to clarify this 14th incursion which the civil society has always been denouncing. That they provide a coherent and ad hoc report to show to the face of the world and the international community, Uganda's involvement in the massacres in Beni", Kataliko told the media.

 
He reportedly further accused the UPDF of providing support to armed groups in Mwalika town, notably in Bashu chieftainship and part of Beni-Mbau sector and Watalingwa settlement.  He went on to thank the local population for collaborating with the DRC army by denouncing the "many incursions of the Ugandan Army" on Congolese soil through the Rwenzori massif from the Basungura settlement.

 
In a statement issued this morning, Ankunda hails the DRC army for helping to neutralize the criminals who killed UPDF soldiers at Masaka barracks and made away with their guns. "These are enemies of Uganda and not our soldier," he said. He explains that whereas it is true that the two people who were killed adorned uniforms that looked like the old and de-gazetted UPDF uniform, they are not members of UPDF to the best of his knowledge and records.
 
  
"For purposes of clarity, one of the guns that was found on them bearing registration number 49036904 had been stolen from Masaka district from a local defense soldier, one Rafael Muhumuza who at the time had been guarding at Muto Plaza. Muhumuza has since been arrested and is pending trial by the military court martial," he discloses.
 
He says the second gun registration number 49025975 had also been grabbed from Corporal Edison  Beingana of Masaka barracks by unknown assailants who killed him and another colleague on 07 Jul 16.


"For Kataliko to claim that the UPDF has been arming ADF or even any other militias to destabilize DRC and that UPDF has had a hand in the spate of killings in Beni is rather outrageous. In any case, it does not make sense that Uganda can arm her enemies (ADF) whose leader Jamil Mukulu is undergoing trial in Uganda," reads the statement.
 

He also says the allegations are discounted by the fact that even the DRC government has not found it worthwhile to raise these allegations with the government of Uganda.  Adding that "We would therefore like to clarify that these allegations are unworthy and should not merit any attention".

 

About the author

Ahmed Wetaka
Ahmed Wetaka is a URN editor. Wetaka is also the editor-in-charge of Up Country bureaus. All bureau chiefs out of Kampala answer to Wetaka. Wetaka has been a URN staff member since 2007.

Wetaka started his career as Mbale Daily Monitor freelance writer. He was also the Open Gate FM reporter, anchor, talk show host and news editor from 2000.

Wetaka is a keen follower of public affairs developments, politics and religion. In 2014, Wetaka managed to fulfill an important Muslim rite of Haj to Mecca.