The United States special Envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes Region (GLR) Dr. Peter Pham has urged Ugandan armed forces to work with its partners to counter the threat posed by the terrorist group, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
The rebel Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which recently joined forces with international terror group, ISIS, has since stepped up attacks in DRC near the Ugandan border.
This has displaced thousands of families to Uganda and sowed fear in communities the operational areas of the militants.
Peter made the remarks on Tuesday while meeting the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces Lt Gen Wilson Mbadi at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala.
“The duo expressed concern over the continued presence of Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebels and other armed groups in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),” said Deputy Defence spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki in a statement sent to ChimpReports today.
“They expressed the desire to see Uganda and the DRC working together to eliminate such terrorist threat.”
ADF’s recent seizure of military bases run by UN and the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) in Beni – including killing dozens of peacekeepers late last year – has triggered concerns about the rebels’ confidence and battlefield experience hence increasing UPDF’s readiness for a possible cross border armed conflict.
Intense fighting between ADF and FARDC led to the death of two soldiers on recently with Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), warning of a massive “refugee influx” in Uganda.
The opening of several fronts by ADF and its ability to sustain attacks has also fueled speculation the Islamist movement is not only moving away from guerilla warfare but also perfecting conventional war tactics.
Dr. Peter Pham, as the newly appointed special envoy to the Great Lakes Region, is closely involved with the implementation of social, political and economic issues that link US interests with countries in the GLR.
He lauded the close cooperation between UPDF and the US government.
Peter also appreciated UPDF’s participation in establishing peace and security not only in Uganda but in the entire region.
He particularly singled out UPDF’S role in fighting violent extremism in Somalia, while also commending Uganda’s role in supporting the peace process in South Sudan.
Lt Gen Mbadi thanked the US government for the tremendous support extended to the UPDF in capacity development and training which has improved UPDF’s effectiveness while dealing with asymmetrical threats.
He urged the US to continue with the support, placing special emphasis on strengthening democratic institutions and addressing issues that create more employment opportunities.
The meeting was also attended by the US Ambassador to Uganda, Ms. Deborah Malac, the Defence Spokesperson Brig Richard Karemire and Brig Henry Isoke, the Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence, among others.
Dr Peter later held a meeting held a meeting with President Museveni at State House, Entebbe on matters relating to security, trade, political and economic integration of the Great Lakes Region, according to a statement from State House.
President Museveni urged the United States of America to consider investing in the sector of infrastructure development in Africa.
He noted that it was profitable for them and would also help to create job opportunities for the people in Africa.
Mr. Pham thanked President Museveni for Uganda’s open door policy of hosting refugees and helping to positively change their livelihoods for the better.