Uganda rebels in DRC recruit child soldiers

By Godfrey Olukya

Posted on Friday, 23 August 2013 13:45

Ugandan authorities say they are engaging with the DRC government to eject the rebel group from its territory.

“The government of Uganda is engaging with the DRC government to take action against the ADF since they are operating in DRC,” a government official said.

“We are holding two people who were behind the recruitment of children in the force.”

Paddy Ankunda, spokesperson for the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), said the Ugandan army did not have a mandate to cross into DRC, but they wanted their Congolese counterparts to deal with the issue.

He said they had recently rescued 30 children from a training camp on Buvuma Island on Lake Victoria.

The children were reportedly rescued on August 9, but the announcement of the rescue operation was only announced a week later.

Of the rescued children, 12 of them, seven boys and five girls were on Thursday handed over to their parents in Mayuge district 160kms from Kampala.

On Friday, Uganda police deputy spokesman, Patrick Onyango told journalists that: “The army and police mounted an operation on Buvuma Island and rescued the children who were undergoing military training. They were later to be taken to ADF camps in DRC”.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni recently warned ADF against attacking Uganda, saying they will be dealt with decisively.

He said he had held talks with his DRC counterpart, President Joseph Kabila, advising him to deal with the insurgents.

“I have told President Kabila and UN that they should deal with the killers,” he said. “We can’t have neighbours who are murderers.

“ADF killers are in Congo. If they dare to attack Uganda, they will suffer the consequences.”

Museveni said that in 2006, some one hundred ADF fighters who crossed into Uganda were wiped out, with only 13 surviving.

ADF rebels were active in Uganda in the 1990’s but Ugandan army defeated them and they fled to eastern Congo forests, where they are reportedly recruiting and training with an intention of attacking Uganda.

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