The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbandi has said the existence of terrorists in the Democratic Republic of Congo or any other country in the East African Community is no longer that country’s problem but it’s a regional problem.
Speaking during a meeting with the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, H.E Xia Huang, on Tuesday at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala, Gen Mbadi said that fighting terrorism activities is no longer a one country’s duty but a regional problem that calls for collective response.
He noted that currently, the region is peaceful due to the collective response the Uganda People’s Defence plus other forces have always given in the neighbouring countries where terrorists hide to destabilize peace (Hot spots for terrorists).
“The mission of UPDF in a joint security operation code-named ‘Operation Shujaa’ with the Congolese army-FARDC, against the terrorist Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) operating in the eastern part of DRC is to establish a stable, secure and peaceful environment so that residents can participate in trade and improve on their quality of life. The existence of terrorists is no longer a one-country problem but a regional problem,” he said.
Gen Mbadi also urged the UN to continue supporting regional mechanisms against terror since fighting terrorism is such an expensive task.
Mr Xia Huang hailed the roles UPDF has played in stabilising the region in neutralising negative forces in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
“We strongly understand your shared regional concerns and you have our full support,” he said.
According to the report by a civil society organization called ‘Accord,’, currently, East Africa has two primary terrorism hotspots. The first is Somalia. It has experienced continuous instability since 1991, due to clan-based warlords and the lack of a functioning central government. Secondly, similar to Somalia, the eastern part of the DRC has been a hotspot since its own civil war from 1997 to 2003.
Unfortunately, Uganda has had a string of terror attacks over the years. The most recent bombings took place in Kampala’s central business district and were claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
According to Gen Mbadi, eradicating such hotspots from the earth’s map requires a combative force from all regional forces backed up by the UN’s help but not one force (country’s force).
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