Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF has heightened security along the Uganda-Democratic Republic of Congo -DRC border following renewed activities by the rebel Allied Democratic Forces-ADF, Red pepper Online has learnt.
The renewed activities of the ADF rebels are contained in a leaked report prepared by the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the New York based Inner City Press, the June 20th report puts the ADF strength at between 800 and 1,200 soldiers. It also claims that there have been attempts by ADF to increase its numbers through recruitment and kidnapping during early 2013.
The report says that ADF have been recruiting in eastern Uganda by promising the recruits employment or education before they are eventually transported to DRC through the border village of Bwera. The UN report adds that the Jamil Mukulu led rebel group has its headquarters located north-east of Eringeti at a camp called Madinat Tawheed Muwaheedina. It also shows that the group has two other camps referred to as Canada and Commander Ibrahim Battle Group with new camps established east of Eringeti.
On Saturday, Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesperson confirmed the reports during a telephone interview with the media. He said they have heightened security along the Uganda-DRC border and continue to monitor the situation in cooperation with the DRC authorities.
Ankunda also confirms reports by the UN that the ADF have established links with Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group. He says the relationship between the terrorist group and the ADF was not speculative adding that, they believe the terror group was providing training and explosives to the ADF.
The UN report quoted former ADF soldiers saying that foreign trainers, who visited ADF in the past, instructed them on the assembly of improvised explosive devices. Ankunda says ADF is involved in illegitimate trade whose proceeds he suspected could be ending up with al shabaab. According to the UN report, ADF receives money transfers from London, Kenya, and Uganda, which are collected by Congolese intermediaries in Beni and Butembo.
It adds that ADF also derives funding from its network of car and motorcycle taxis operating in and between Butembo, Beni and Oicha in addition to profits from gold and timber exports to Uganda. Ankunda says says he is happy that the UN report had indicated that Uganda was not supporting M23 rebels. He insists that they always knew that the previous allegations were baseless.
The latest report clears Uganda of the accusation made last year that the country was providing support to the DR Congolese rebel group. The report however maintained that Rwanda, jointly accused with Uganda last year was still giving support, though limited to the rebels.