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Thousands of UPDF troops suspected in Congo, Rugunda vows to probe

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Government will follow up and investigate claims that Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) troops are illegally stationed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has said.

Speaking during Wednesday’s plenary sitting, Dr. Rugunda, who was responding to Hon. Godfrey Katusabe (FDC, Bukonjo West) concern, said he was not aware that there were any Ugandan troops across Uganda’s western border.

Hon. Godfrey Katusabe (FDC, Bukonjo West), who raised the issue said that media houses in eastern DRC were reporting of the presence of about 5,000 Ugandan troops at an airport in Beni. Beni is located in north eastern DRC, west of the Virunga National Park and the Rwenzori Mountains.

“What are they (UPDF) doing in the Congo without parliamentary approval? Such incidences are the causes of major disagreements between countries,” Hon. Katusabe said, adding that “It is the communities across the borders that are affected. Government should conduct investigations.”

The Constitution gives power to Parliament to make laws regulating the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces and, in particular, providing for among others, the deployment of troops outside Uganda.

In 1998, Ugandan troops crossed into the Congo to protect the border areas from rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). The move was later given parliamentary approval. The UPDF personnel were however accused of plundering natural resources including minerals and timber from the country, before being withdrawn.

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