The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) contingent has finally received withdrawal orders to pull out forces that had been operating in the Eastern part of DRC as a peacekeeping force under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF).
Captain Kato Ahmad Hassan, the contingent spokesperson says they have started preparations to execute operations to leave DRC.
“UPDF will conduct withdraw operation of its forces and equipment in a phased manner, gradual, orderly and sequentialy commencing from 8th December 2023-7th January 2024 so as to curtail any disruption that can lead to security space.” he said in a statement on Friday.
The withdrawal of the UPDF troops follows the expiry of the EACRF tenure mandate beyond today December, 8 2023, after the DRC government vowed not to renew the mandate, accusing regional troops of not fighting M23 rebels.
However speaking to KFM early this week, defense spokesperson Brigadier Felix Kuyaligye said their mandate was never to fight the M23 rebels in the first place and that they don’t think the group is the problem.
Captain Kato now says “UPDF will ensure to expedite the pullout of its forces and equipments within the approved timelines as enshrined in the extra ordinary meeting of EAC CDFS forces held on 6th December 2023”.
Other EAC countries including Kenya and South Sudan have also withdrawn their troops from DRC.
Soldiers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc are expected to replace the East African force, but no date has been set for their arrival.