Uganda’s EOD Team Safely Disposes 18 Unexploded Ordinances, Restores Peace in North Kivu Region

Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces Contingent, serving under the East African Community Regional Force, has successfully disposed of 18 pieces of assorted unexploded ordinances in the villages of Mabenga, North Kivu. The Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Team, operating under the Field Engineering Unit, played a crucial role in neutralizing a variety of hazardous devices, ranging from rocket propelled grenade (RPG) bombs to bomb fuses and live ammunition of assault rifle weapons.

Since the UPDF Contingent occupied the general areas of Mabenga, peace and tranquility have been restored, allowing civilians to return to their fields for cultivation. However, they were confronted with the challenge of unexploded ordinances left behind from previous conflicts. This posed a serious threat to human lives and animals in the region.

Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Mawanda Lubega, the Commanding Officer of the 9th battalion, emphasized the UPDF’s commitment to protecting the local community from the dangers posed by these unexploded devices. He noted that some of the recovered bombs were still operational, highlighting the grave risks they posed if tampered with.

Major Aine Julius, the UPDF EOD Field Engineering Commander, commended the local community for cooperating and heeding their advice on handling the explosives cautiously. He underscored the deadly nature of the devices and urged the community to remain vigilant when dealing with unknown materials.

The farmers of Mabenga expressed their gratitude to the UPDF EACRF Contingent for their efforts in removing the unexploded ordinances. Agriculture and animal husbandry are the backbone of the region’s economy, with crops such as maize, soya, beans, cassava, and sorghum being vital for sustenance in not only Rutshuru territory but also North Kivu and beyond.

Mabenga, located 37 kilometers from Rutshuru-Kiwanja town center, is renowned for its significant contributions to food production in North Kivu. However, the presence of unexploded ordinances had hindered farming activities, jeopardizing the livelihoods of the local population.

The safe disposal of these explosives by the UPDF EOD Team has brought a sense of relief and optimism to the residents of Mabenga. Nevertheless, they called upon the East African Community Regional Force and its partners to extend their efforts in clearing other affected areas in North Kivu, ensuring the safety of civilians and fostering agricultural productivity in the region.

The successful operation undertaken by the UPDF EOD Team serves as a testament to their commitment to safeguarding communities and promoting peace and stability in the region. As the East African Community continues its mission to address security challenges in the area, it is hoped that more progress will be made in the demining efforts to secure a brighter future for North Kivu’s inhabitants.

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