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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

DRC-UGANDA: Ugandan army deploys near border

NAIROBI, 29 September 2003 (IRIN) - The Ugandan army has deployed forces near the border of neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following reports that Ugandan rebels had regrouped in nearby Congolese villages, the Ugandan government-owned newspaper, The New Vision, reported on Monday.

Citing security sources, the Kampala newspaper said a splinter group of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebel movement had re-formed at its former bases in Kamango and Bunduguya of Ituri District, northeastern DRC. The daily reported that the second division commander of the Uganda People's Defence Forces, Col Poteli Kivuna, had confirmed the deployment.

"The wanainchi [citizens] in those places were not happy, they came and reported to us that the enemy was back. We are monitoring the situation as well as taking precaution on our side of the border," the paper quoted Kivuna as saying.

Asked if the presence of ADF rebels in Ituri would force the Ugandan military to cross into the DRC, he reportedly said, "If they invite us we shall deal with them."

The New Vision reported that Bunduguya was the scene of clashes between the ADF and Ugandan military in October 2002, during which the rebels reportedly lost 45 fighters.

Under international pressure, Uganda was reported to have withdrawn the last of its forces from the DRC in May 2003, following its involvement in over four years of war in the Congo. Widely accused of having entered the DRC to exploit its natural resources, Uganda has maintained that its presence was necessary as its security was under threat from Ugandan dissident groups in the DRC, such as the ADF and the People's Redemption Army.






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