KISORO – The Uganda People’s Defense Force contingent have officially withdrawn their troops from the North Kivu war zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
This decision follows the DR Congo government’s refusal to renew the mandate of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) troops, part of a peacekeeping mission that expired on December 8, 2023. Allegations against the troops for not engaging the M23 rebels led to this move.
As of 11:00 am, hundreds of Ugandan troops were observed crossing from Rutshuru territory back to Uganda through the Bunagana border in Kisoro district.
The withdrawal marks the conclusion of the mandate assigned to troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan, deployed in late 2022 to reclaim positions from the M23 rebels.
The conflict, initiated by M23 rebels against the DR Congo government in March 2022, has led to heightened tensions and accusations of ceasefire violations.
However, the M23 Movement President Bertrand Bisimwa condemned the Kinshasa regime forces’ actions, stating they undermine international peace initiatives.
Lawrence Kanyuka, M23 Political Spokesperson, asserted the group’s right to respond to any attacks against civilians or its positions.
The situation remains dynamic and poses challenges to regional stability.
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