The Ugandan army has sent more troops to its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, a day after a rebel group killed five people while fleeing a Congolese army offensive, an army spokesperson said.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan rebel group based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, attacked the town of Mutwanga, 50 km (30 miles) from the border with Uganda on Monday, Maj. Patrick Kamara of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) said.
“We’ve always deployed at our border with Congo. But what the ADF did in Mutwanga on Monday certainly raised our alertness and we’ve had to respond with more vigilance and greater deployment,” he told Reuters.
The ADF was formed in 1996 and aims to establish an Islamic state in Uganda and the Ugandan army says its recruits are predominantly young Muslims.
For years, the ADF waged an insurgency in western Uganda from its bases in the Rwenzori Mountains and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s jungles.
At its peak around 1999, the ADF was blamed for a series of bomb blasts in the Ugandan capital, Kampala that killed and maimed scores of people.
A broad and prolonged cross-border offensive by the Ugandan army, though, disrupted many of the insurgent bases and killed off much of its leadership.
“What they did (on Monday) confirms what we’ve been saying: that ADF is not in Congo growing maize and sorghum to survive but a real rebel group with terrorist intentions,” said Kamara, spokesperson for UPDF 2nd Division, which is responsible for security in the west of the country.
Western Uganda, where the ADF operated, is where commercial hydrocarbon deposits have been discovered and any resurgence of conflict could hamper exploration in the area.
Petroleum explorers Heritage Oil and Tullow Oil estimate reserves in the Albertine Rift Basin at two billion barrels and commercial production is forecast to commence in the last quarter of 2011.
Pic: Ugandan troops