KAMPALA – Uganda has in a harsh response said that it doesn’t need any help from the United Nations in the ongoing operations in DR Congo.
This comes shortly after the UN Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO) spokesperson Mathias Gillman on Wednesday saying that their mandate limits them from supporting the coalition’s force in DR Congo.
On Thursday morning, the minister for foreign affairs in charge of international relations Okello Oryem said Uganda does not need the help of the UN.
“We have no good words for them, they have been there for long but what have they done? As far as we are concerned, we do not want their military assistance, even if they offer us a cup of tea, we do not need it,” said Oryem.
According to him, the UPDF has the capacity to carry out the mission in DR Congo without any one’s help.
Early this week, Ugandan troops crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as part of a joint operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group that both neighbouring countries accuse of massacring civilians.
DRC’s government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said the two sides had decided to cooperate further.
“It was agreed after an assessment to continue in-depth operations by the special forces of the two countries to clear the positions of the terrorists concerned,” he said on Twitter late on Tuesday.
DRC army spokesman Leon-Richard Kasonga said in a statement that “for the time being, Congolese special forces supported by Ugandan special units will carry out search and control operations to clear and secure ADF positions affected by this morning’s strikes.”
“This part of eastern DRC is thick with forest,” said Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, who has reported extensively from the region.
“It’s so thick that when you take a step off the dirt roads, it can even be impossible to get through this vegetation. It’s within these forests that the ADF has its hideouts and hidden bases. It’s very difficult terrain to hunt down an armed group that’s using guerilla tactics – and that’s one of the reasons why previous attempts to flush out the ADF has struggled.”
The attacks came two days after a senior Congolese source reported that President Felix Tshisekedi had given Uganda permission to pursue the ADF on DRC’s soil.
The move is not universally supported in the DRC, where many critics recall the role of Uganda and Rwanda in the decades-long instability in the east of the country.
The ADF is deeply feared in eastern DRC. The group was founded in Uganda in 1995 and later moved to the DRC. In March, the United States formally linked it to ISIL (ISIS).
“ADF is a vicious organisation that killed thousands of people in eastern DRC, after it was properly pushed out of Uganda,” Chatham House analyst Alex Vines told Al Jazeera.
The DRC’s Catholic Church says the ADF has killed about 6,000 civilians since 2013 while a respected monitor, the Kivu Security Tracker, blames it for more than 1,200 deaths in North Kivu’s Beni area alone since 2017.
The Ugandan authorities recently accused the ADF or a local group affiliated with it of carrying out or planning attacks.
On November 16, four people were killed and 33 wounded in twin suicide bombings in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, which police attributed to a “domestic terror group” linked to the ADF.
The blasts, claimed by ISIL (ISIS), came on the heels of a bomb attack at a roadside eatery on October 23 that killed one woman, and a suicide blast on a bus near Kampala on October 25 that wounded several people.