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Uganda Denies UN Claims of Supporting Congo Rebels

KAMPALA — Uganda has strongly refuted allegations made by United Nations experts accusing the country of backing M23 rebels operating in the volatile eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Ugandan defense spokesman dismissed the UN report’s assertions as “laughable, baseless, and illogical.”

The UN Security Council-commissioned report claimed there was “active support” for the M23 rebels from members of Ugandan intelligence services. In response, Deputy Defence Spokesman Deo Akiiki, speaking from Kampala, rebuffed the allegations, stating, “The allegations are laughable, baseless and illogical to say Uganda is working to destabilise DRC. Our forces have been working together with DRC forces to ensure peace returns to eastern DRC.”

While Uganda’s role in the conflict has been less documented compared to neighboring Rwanda, recent months have seen mounting evidence linking Ugandan security forces with the M23. The latest UN expert group report, dated May 31, detailed alleged support and logistical facilities provided to rebels on Ugandan soil, including members of the Alliance Fleuve Congo (AFC) group formed by Corneille Nangaa in December 2023.

According to the report, “Since the resurgence of the M23 crisis, Uganda has not prevented the presence of the M23 and Rwandan soldiers on its territory, nor their passage, including during the capture of Bunagana on 12 June 2022.”

Defence spokesman Akiiki emphasized ongoing efforts between Uganda and the DRC in “peace-building infrastructure” that have significantly improved bilateral relations. Uganda was part of a multinational East African Community force deployed in November 2022, at the invitation of DRC authorities, to combat the resurgent M23 rebel group in the conflict-ridden region. However, the East African force withdrew last year after Kinshasa declined to extend its mandate.

The accusations from the UN come amidst continued regional efforts to stabilize eastern DRC, where armed groups continue to pose a threat to peace and security.

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