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Uganda Amps DRC Peace Force


FILE: A refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) waits to receive lunch at the Nyakabande Transit Center in Kisoro, Uganda, June 7, 2022, following deadly fights between M23 rebels, one of more than 120 armed groups roaming eastern DRC, and DRC troops.

UPDATED WITH ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: GOMA, DRC - Ugandan troops operating as part of an East African regional military force entered the eastern DRC border town of Bunagana on Friday, an army officer and witnesses said.

The Ugandan soldiers are intended to supervise the gradual withdrawal of the M23 rebel group, which has conquered swathes of territory in eastern Congo since taking up arms again in late 2021.

Ugandan troops have been present in the eastern DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since November 2021.

They deployed as part of a joint operation with the Congolese army against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), armed rebels the Islamic State group claims as its Central African affiliate.

In June, the leaders of the seven-nation East African Community (EAC) announced the creation of a regional military force to restore peace in eastern DRC.

The force is under the command of Kenyan General Jeff Nyagah, who since November has been based in Goma, a major city near which the M23 has concentrated its activity.

Several other states have also deployed troops to eastern DRC as part of the UN peacekeeping mission in the region, known as MONUSCO.

The force has a current strength of about 16,000 uniformed personnel and it has suffered more than 200 fatalities, according to the United Nations.

Ongoing violence has forced DRC people remain there to close schools en-masse, which deprives children of their education.

Insurgency is also blocking aid shipments to hungry people who also need shelter and medical attention.