Uganda and its neighbour the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday launched a joint aerial operation against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), the terror group blamed for massacres in both countries.
Both countries’ spokespeople indicated the aerial offensive will target the group’s hide-outs in eastern DR Congo provinces of Ituri and North Kivu where there have been recent killings blamed on the rebels.
Patrick Muyaya, DRC government spokesman said: “As announced, the targeted and concerted actions with the Ugandan army started today with airstrikes and artillery fire from Uganda on the positions of ADF terrorists in the DRC.”
The attacks come two weeks after bombings that killed four people in the Ugandan capital Kampala, which authorities there said terrorists allied to the ADF had masterminded the operation. The attack was claimed by the ISIS terror group, to which ADF has pledged allegiance.
The ADF are Ugandan rebels who have been operating in eastern DRC since the 1990s. They have recently embarked on suicide attacks in Uganda. Now the two countries say the group has become a problem for both.
“The ADF are our common enemy. We will fight them,” said Mr Muyaya.
A spokesman for the Ugandan Ministry of Defence said: “This morning, we have launched joint air and artillery strikes against ADF camps with our Congolese allies.”
In the DRC, mainly in the province of Ituri and in North Kivu, several massacres are attributed to the ADF rebels, considered as the branch of the Islamic State in Central Africa.
The actions of the Ugandan and Congolese armies have nonetheless sparked a heated debate in the DRC. According to some Congolese lawmakers, the government was obliged to inform parliament first before any military action by a foreign army on Congolese soil.