Uganda hosts military base to monitor ‘negative forces’ in eastern Congo
Uganda is set to host a military intelligence base for nations in the Great Lakes region to monitor the growth of Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
The rebel group is accused of establishing ties with terrorist groups Al-Shabaab and Boko Haram, plus recruiting members from across the Great Lakes region. The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) says a lack of permanent intelligence and monitoring is a factor in failing to defeat the rebel group.
ADF recruiting from across Great Lakes region
ICGLR Executive Secretary Zachary Muburi-Muita recently told the East African that ADF is recruiting members from across the Great Lakes Region. The group is targeting young men at mosques and promising to take them to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries in return for their efforts.
“These negative forces are being sustained by illegal exploitation of mineral resources through international links and are also enjoying political support from some governments in the region, who use them as proxies,” he told the publication.
So far, UN peacekeepers and intervention forces comprising of Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa have been unable to neutralise the growing threat posed by ADF.
‘Negative forces’ in Congo
ADF isn’t the only group of concern for the ICGLR and the proposed military intelligence base. In Democratic Republic of the Congo there’s also the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and disbanded members of the M23, which was defeated in 2014, but continues to make demands.
Mr Muita also says the ICGLR is concerned about 80,000 South Sudanese refugees in DRC, some of whom are known to be former rebel fighters of Dr Riek Macher. Muita fears they could establish a new group to renew their fight against South Sudanese president Salva Kiir.
“While they have been disarmed by the UN and placed in camps, they still retain the skills to use weapons and there is a danger that they could become the latest addition to negative forces in DRC. We want to stay ahead of them by continuously monitoring their movements,” Muita told the East African.
Featured image: By MONUSCO Photos – Joint MONUSCO-FARDC operation against ADF in Beni, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32468732