The Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs, Vincent Ssempijja has sought more time from parliament to enable him formally present a statement regarding the Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF entry into the Democratic Republic of Congo -DRC in pursuit of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF ) group.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among made the revelation following a procedural matter raised by Ssemujju Nganda, the Kira Municipality Member of Parliament.
In his statement, Ssemujju said that the Democratic Republic of Congo- DRC government had briefed and went ahead to obtain clearance from the country’s parliament about the ongoing fighting in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu.
“They briefed their parliament that they are doing this with the help of Uganda People’s Defence Forces,” said Ssemujju in part. “In fact for me Madam Speaker, I came here thinking that the Government of Uganda will be seeking our clearance and I came ready to give that clearance. But I see the Order Paper that matter is not there.”
The legislator insisted that Uganda’s government needed the authorization of parliament for the army to go into another country. He wondered whether the Speaker of Parliament had been notified about the development and when the government intends to seek parliament’s clearance in regard to UPDF’s involvement in Congo.
In response, Deputy Speaker Anita Among recounted that parliament on Tuesday asked the Minister of Defence, Vincent Ssempijja to appear and present a statement on the matter and that the Minister has since written to her noting that he would not be available this week. According to Among, the Minister sought to present a statement on the matter on Tuesday next week.
The Armed Forces of the DRC (Forces Armées de la République Rémocratique du Congo -FARDC) in conjunction with Uganda Peoples Defense Forces –UPDF on Tuesday launched an attack on the ADF rebel bases in Watalinga Chiefdom of Beni Territory and North Kivu province.
The UPDF Spokesperson, Brig. Flavia Byekwaso reported that the UPDF had launched joint air and artillery strikes against ADF camps with their Congolese allies.
This follows four separate bomb blasts in Uganda in the month of November that claimed lives of at least 10 people and left several others injured. The Uganda government has blamed the four attacks on ADF.
Different local sources told Uganda Radio Network- URN that several detonations and heavy weapons were heard in the area in the morning hours of Tuesday targeting ADF positions in the Kichanga region near Madina.
During a press conference held on Monday, Spokespersons for the FARDC, General Léon-Richard Kasonga, and the Congolese National Police, Léon Richard Kasonga confirmed that there was a collaboration or pooling of efforts between the Congolese and Ugandan armies, in particular, to put an end to the terrorism perpetrated by the Ugandan rebels of the ADF.
The national deputy and president of the Group of deputies of the 26 provinces of the DRC, Gratien Iracan, indicates that “the joint intervention of the armies of Uganda and the DRC to track down the negative forces which destabilize the region of Ituri and North Kivu could be an effective solution to stop the massacres in the DRC.”