Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) soldiers, currently on a peacekeeping mission in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have been directed to maintain a state of readiness to defend themselves in response to escalating security threats.
The directive was issued by Col Michael Walaka Hyeroba, the contingent commander, during a briefing with his troop commanders.
He highlighted the rapidly changing security situation in the EACRF (East African Community Rapid Deployment Capability) areas of operation in the Rutshuru territory.
The decision to heighten alertness comes in the wake of persistent threats against the mission troops, including recent attacks. In a previous incident, rebels attacked, resulting in the deaths of two Ugandan soldiers and two civilians.
Additionally, on October 16, two UPDF soldiers were injured in an ambush by an unidentified armed group along the Rukoro-Burai road in Rutshuru territory.
The UPDF troops effectively responded to the ambush and continued their mission in Bunagana.
UPDF contingent spokesman, Capt Hassan Kato, confirmed the directive from Col Hyeroba.
“The UPDF contingent commander under the EACRF in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Col Michael Walaka Hyeroba, has instructed his troops to maintain constant alertness and readiness to act promptly. They have been urged to be prepared for self-defense, given that the EACRF mandate grants them this right,” said Capt Kato.
Col Hyeroba emphasized that, to consolidate their achievements, the force must be willing to endure inconvenience, avoid complacency, and strictly adhere to standard operating procedures while executing their mandate.
He urged commanders to prioritize the protection of their troops and be prepared to confront any threats from those opposing peace in the region.
Furthermore, Col Hyeroba tasked his troops with ensuring the safety of civilians under threat and supporting humanitarian efforts to aid the vulnerable community.
The local population remains the core reason for EACRF’s presence in the DRC, as they aim to maintain peace and stability in the region.