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Uganda and DRC talks over joint military
operation against ADF rebels postponed

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- The Uganda military on Wednesday said talks between Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over joint military operations against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) scheduled for this weekend have been postponed to allow for more consultations.

Brig. Richard Karemire, Uganda’s military spokesperson, told Xinhua in a telephone interview that the planned Saturday bilateral meeting between authorities in Kampala and Kinshasa on conducting joint operations against the ADF who recently killed UN peacekeepers and DRC soldiers have been postponed.

“The meeting is still being planned. It has been rescheduled to another date to be announced soon,” said Karemire.

ADF is a Ugandan rebel group hiding in eastern DRC where it is causing mayhem.



Uganda deploys additional troops along border with DR Congo

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- The Ugandan military has deployed additional troops along its common border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to prepare for possible infiltration and attacks from the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a spokesperson said here Tuesday.

Richard Karemire, Uganda’s military spokesperson, told Xinhua in an interview that the army has made reinforcement of soldiers and Local Defense Units (LDU) as a precautionary measure to prevent infiltration and attacks by the ADF.

“Our security at the border is beefed up with sufficient presence of troops supported by the LDU’s that were recruited from the (border) districts of Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko,” said Karemire.

And the vigilance of the public is in place to stem any surprise attacks or infiltration, he added.

The ADF, a Ugandan rebel group operating in restive eastern DRC, last week killed seven Malawian, one Tanzanian UN peacekeepers and at least 12 DRC soldiers.

The soldiers were killed on Wednesday during joint operations of the UN peacekeeping mission and the DRC troops against the ADF insurgents in Beni of North Kivu province.


Bodies of six slain UN Malawi peacekeepers arrive home

LILONGWE (Xinhua) -- Bodies of the six UN Malawi soldiers who were killed during peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on November 14 arrived home on Wednesday.

The plane carrying the fallen soldiers’ bodies touched down at Kamuzu International Airport in Malawi capital at exactly 11:58 local time.

Each of the six caskets was draped in the UN flag and they were welcomed by President Peter Mutharika, UN Resident Coordinator in Malawi Maria Jose Torres, government officials and family members.

In her remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator described the death of the six UN Malawi soldiers as “unprecedented tragedy” for Malawi, a country that has over 900 men and women troops among more than 17,000 troops currently serving in peacekeeping operations in the UN.

“The UN Security Council has expressed that the attack is war crime and they have asked the armed forces to lay down arms and cease all forms of violence,” said Torres, adding: “The UN Secretary General has encouraged the Congolese authorities to take necessary measures to bring to justice the perpetrators of this act to book.”

She paid “heartfelt condolence” to the bereft families of the six soldiers and also wished well all the peacekeeping soldiers who had sustained injuries during the November 14 combat with the rebels in the DRC.

In his remarks, President Mutharika described Wednesday, November 21 as “very sad and painful day” for all Malawians.

He described the soldiers as “heroes of Africa” who had fought to their last breath in search for peace.

He thanked the UN family and all regional leaders on the continent for mourning together with Malawi through the many condolence messages and flowers they had sent to the Malawi leader. 


MONUSCO to take “proactive action” after peacekeeper deaths in DRC: UN

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- The UN peacekeeping chief said Friday that the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will take “proactive action” to contain armed groups after the deaths of at least seven peacekeepers in the country.

“We have determined more have to be done after careful preparation and coordination with the AFRDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo),” UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the press in response to the loss of the peacekeepers’ lives.

MONUSCO—the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC—will take proactive action to weaken the ability of the armed groups, particularly Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), to harm population as well as to disturb Ebola related efforts, he added.

The UN under chief confirmed the deaths of six Malawian and one Tanzanian peacekeepers and 15 AFRDC members, as well as the injuring of another 12 peacekeepers and 45 AFRDC members. They were killed Wednesday in Beni territory of North Kivu during joint operations against the ADF, which is active in both the DRC and Uganda.

Lacroix said the armed groups have been committing brutal crimes against the population for many years in North Kivu, recalling MONUSCO’s loss of 17 Tanzanian peacekeepers as a result of an ADF attack in 2017.

Moreover, in the recent couple of months, North Kivu has seen increased armed group activities, which he said constitutes an obstacle to fight the Ebola epidemic plaguing the area.

Leila Zerrougui, the secretary-general’s special representative for the DRC, told the press that local authorities have informed MONUSCO that the armed groups are preparing a mass attack on different places in Beni.

Though MONUSCO has its strongest concentration in North Kivu, Lacroix warned some of the armed groups, particularly the ADF, “has a level of strength, equipment and sophistication, which requires adequate response from our side.”

On Thursday, both UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council condemned the killing of UN peacekeepers in the DRC.

The UN chief called on all armed groups to stop their destabilizing activities, and encourages the DRC authorities to continue taking the necessary measures to apprehend and bring to justice the perpetrators of attacks against civilians, national security forces and peacekeepers, his spokesperson said.

The members of the Security Council, for their part, underlined deliberate attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law, and also called for swift investigation into this attack.

The east of the DRC has been plagued by insurgency for over 20 years. The past year has seen a surge in violence around North Kivu. 


Ebola vaccination for high-risk health workers in Uganda hits 1,000 mark

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- An ongoing Ebola vaccination for frontline health workers in Uganda’s high risk areas has surpassed 1,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) said here on Sunday.

The global health body said in a statement that 1,175 healthcare and frontline workers have so far been vaccinated out of the targeted 2,000 in the five western districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The vaccinated were in the three districts of Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo, which border eastern DRC where there was an outbreak of the highly contagious disease.

“Vaccination (is) going on well. On Tuesday, the vaccination team will move to the 4th district (Kabarole),” WHO said.

Uganda started Ebola vaccinations for frontline health workers on Nov. 7 with support from WHO.

According to WHO, at least 2,100 doses of experimental rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine are currently available in the east African country. However, supplementary doses have been requested.

With high fatality rates ranging from 50 percent to 89 percent, the highly contagious Ebola virus can cause a range of symptoms including fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise and in many cases internal and external bleeding.



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