Ugandan Troops Shoot Assailant Dead in North Kivu, DRC Crackdown

Ugandan Troops. PHOTO/FILE

Ugandan peacekeeping troops stationed in the conflict-torn North Kivu province of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been involved in an incident where one person was fatally shot, and another was injured during a crackdown on insecurity in Kiwanja town, Rutshuru territory.

Captain Hassan Ahmed Kato, the spokesperson for the Ugandan contingent, provided an account of the events. While conducting a routine patrol, the troops received intelligence about a group of troublemakers who were breaking into the homes and shops of local residents.

According to Kato, the group focused their activities on residences in the Lueshe zone and Abattoir Avenue areas of Buturande in Kiwanja. Their criminal activities included stealing goats from the local populace. Their misfortune struck when they attempted to loot a shop on a nearby street, unaware that Ugandan troops were patrolling in the vicinity. Kato clarified that when the troops moved in to apprehend the attackers, they encountered resistance, resulting in one individual being fatally shot, and another sustaining injuries.

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Kato mentioned that a third suspect was apprehended, while the remaining assailants managed to escape. The identities of the deceased and injured individuals remain unknown, and investigations into the incident are currently ongoing.

The Ugandan troops are deployed in Rutshuru territory, covering various locations such as Bunagana, Kiwanja, Mabenga, and Rutshuru town. Their primary objective is to reclaim areas previously held by the M23 rebels and establish a buffer zone to prevent further confrontations between the M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers. Similar peacekeeping missions have seen troops from Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan deployed in Masisi and Nyiragongo territories. However, despite these efforts, lasting stability has proven elusive.

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Notably, the M23 rebels resurfaced in these areas following the withdrawal of Burundian troops, which occurred after the DR Congo government took control of Mushaki town in Masisi territory. This led to intense clashes between the two factions in Kirolirwe, Rugogwe Busumba, Kirumbu, and Kibarizo in Masisi territory, with both sides accusing each other of initiating attacks and violating ceasefire directives.

The conflict in North Kivu originally erupted in March 2022 when the M23 rebels initiated hostilities against the DR Congo government, with a particular focus on the North Kivu province. The DR Congo government has accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels, although both Rwanda and the rebel group vehemently deny any involvement. The rebels claim to be fighting against corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination within the DRC. The situation remains fluid and volatile as regional forces strive to bring stability to the troubled region.

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