The UN Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) will not support the joint Uganda-DR Congo operations against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.
MONUSCO public relations officer Mathias Gillman said their mandate limits them from supporting the coalition force in eastern DR Congo.
Mr Gillman, while responding to a journalist’s question on the implication of the deployment of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in eastern DRC, said: “Our mandate allows us to support the Congolese army in its operations. Our mandate does not allow us to support a regional coalition.”
“But it doesn’t mean we cannot do anything; it simply means that our efforts should be coordinated for eventualities,” Mr Gillman said yesterday during a press briefing in Kinshasa, the capital city of DR Congo.
MONUSCO has 14,000 troops to counter the ADF rebels in eastern DRC.
On Tuesday, the UPDF carried out air and artillery strikes on rebel positions.
Uganda accuses the rebel group of bombings in Kampala City that left seven people dead and tens injured and on a bus on Kampala-Masaka road. The rebel group is also accused of killing a total of 147 people in 30 separate bomb terror attacks between July 2001 and January 2021.
Members of the ADF were defeated in western Uganda and later fled to eastern DR Congo where they have been operating since 2007.
In a televised address last month, President Museveni said the rebel group is busy mining and cutting timber in DR Congo despite the presence of the UN mission aimed at flushing them out of the remote and densely forested region.
President Museveni views the UN deployment in DR Congo as mere tourism for the personnel since they have failed to bring peace and stability there in more than four decades of their presence.
MONUSCO in a statement said: “…MONUSCO stresses the need to guarantee very close coordination between military actors to ensure both the effectiveness of operations and safety of all parties. The Mission remains determined to work, within the framework of its mandate, to support efforts against armed groups and to ensure the protection of civilian populations in areas of operations.”
Mr Gillman said the joint Uganda-DR Congo military operations will have consequences on them and there is need to have coordination of all parts for the safety of all parties.
Mr Gillman said for the operations by Uganda and DR Congo against the ADF to be effective, there is need to involve other security stakeholders, especially the residents in the region.
Mr Gillman while responding to another question whether DR Congo accepting UPDF deployment isn’t a clear message that MONUSCO should leave, said the DR Congo is big enough to accommodate another player.
“And given the size of Ituri, which is twice as big as Belgium, and with extremely complex problems, there can still be room for work for everyone, within the limits of what our mandate allows us to do together with the Congolese army,” he said.
In 2020, the UN Security Council under Resolution 2556 extended the MONUSCO mandate until December 20, 2021.