<a href=Uganda in a joint operation with Congolese Forces are taking aim at ADF insurgents bases in the DR Congo (PHOTO/COURTESY)
 
 
By TABU BUTAGIRA

In September 2020, President Museveni as the Commander-in-Chief of Uganda’s armed forces, rotated then Maj Gen Paul Lokech and Col Paul Muwonge out of South Sudan and assigned them more delicate and demanding roles.

First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, a lieutenant general, was recalled from the shadows and deployed as the Chief of UPDF Land Forces, signalling the strategic underpinnings of the top-line command rearrangement.

Whereas Maj Gen Lokech went to fix what Gen Museveni considered a problematic Uganda Police Force as its second-in-command, Col Muwonge on the other hand headed to eastern DRC.

His task was cut out: lead intelligence gathering and analysis the operations of the Allied Democratic Front (ADF) and other subversive elements holed up in eastern DRC that borders Uganda.

Col Muwonge is Uganda military’s expert on DRC and the nascent terror network of the Islamic State in Great Lakes Region known, alternately in global security circles as the Islamic State Central Africa Province (ISCAP).

These 2020 deployments, highly placed security sources say, was the foundation for what yesterday culminated into the surprise UPDF air strikes on bases of ADF in Beni and Ituri territories of North Kivu.

The planning of the operation, code-named Shujaa (Hero), has been in the works for months, Defence and Military Spokesperson Brig Flavia Byekwaso confirmed last night.

Sources familiar with the process told the Daily Monitor that the preparations were at various stages affected by opposition by a neighbouring country that allegedly piled pressure, alongside the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), on Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi not to allow Uganda launch an attack on its soil.

Yet, separately, Kinshasa had at hand a deal with Uganda to surface hundreds of kilometres of roads in remote parts of eastern DR Congo, opening the hamlets there to better trade opportunities, security response and modern infrastructure.

To break the impasse with President Tshisekedi, the Ugandan leader reached to an unlikely name; a one Falid Kaliisa, whom he tapped as a special envoy to persuade Mr Tshisekedi. Mr Kaliisa, who reportedly attended many of the counter-ADF preparatory meetings, succeeded.

President Tshisekedi in principle agreed to the proposal for Uganda to attack ADF bases inside his country, but the pressure by political opponents at home, a regional neighbour and the SADC bloc, where DR Congo is a member, weighed down his options.

In addition, Uganda accelerated diplomatic charm offensive to placate sceptical African leaders and the international community by tendering assurances that, unlike its 1996-2003 invasion and plunder of the then Zaire, no mischief would happen this time.

With these uncertainties, the greenlight for UPDF to deploy in Congo kept blinking, resulting in a fluid target date for the operation. In the intervening period, Col Muwonge’s team assembled intelligence, which they forwarded to inform the decisions of commanders in Kampala, and Uganda and Congo militaries began sharing classified security briefings.

The information included the strength and precise location of the targets --- in this case ADF’s older lair in Eringeti forest in Beni where its commander Musa Baluku is believed to camp, and the newer base in Irumu forest in Ituri territory.

Highly placed security sources said the briefing flagged ADF’s recruitment of Ugandan children, mainly from Mayuge and Kyazanga, and its spreading terror cell and the risk posed to Uganda’s national security.

Uganda, another source said, delayed to stem the recruitment and did little to infiltrate ADF network yet the movement of cash, IED-making trainers from Syria and Somaliland as well as businesses of the group were known.

After piles of intelligence, Uganda identified 10 potential targets, and aimed to first strike on them at the start of June. The maps and location coordinates were given to army pilots who were placed on standby Class 1, pending Kinshasa’s nod, which did not happen and there was another attempt on June 24. This too was unsuccessful.

UPDF’s Mountain Brigade commander, Maj Gen Kayanja Muhanga, met Congolese counterparts in Congo’s Beni town.  A follow-up meeting happened in Fort Portal, Uganda, and a Ugandan contingent concluded reconnaissance inside DR Congo, but the planned operation again lulled.

By June, both Maj Gen Kayanja and Lt Gen Muhoozi had taken active lead to concretise initial plans for the offensive against ADF, a United States-designated terrorist group.

Many other operation dates were considered until last Saturday when, amid reported DR Congo government consent, an order to strike the group’s bases early Sunday morning during President Museveni’s three-day visit to Tanzania, was abruptly aborted. No reason was given.

And hours after he returned, the mission was activated, and four Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 multirole interdiction jets lifted from Old Entebbe Airport, striking, according to security sources, multiple ADF targets “accurately” in two return raids.

Source http://www.bing.com/news/apiclick.aspx?ref=FexRss&aid=&tid=55E0B3935AF140378A9DDA3686D0584B&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ntv.co.ug%2Fug%2Fnews%2Fnational%2Fhow-war-against-adf-was-planned-3638866&c=10513626062221106919&mkt=en-ca

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