With UPDF Shs250m daily and a one-year budget for operations, Uganda is not leaving the DRC any time soon.
The Uganda People’s Defense Forces have proposed a budget of U$89.7 billion ($25.6 million) to enable its operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, signaling the army’s intention to remain longer.
This was revealed on Monday, when senior Ministry of Defence officials submitted the budget to Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee, saying that the funds would sustain the current operation against the Allied Democratic Force (ADF) in Congo for a period of 12 months.
The army leaders underlined that the 12 months begin in July 2022 and do not cover the time between now and July, as well as the roughly two-month period spent in the conflict nicknamed “Operation Shujaa.”
“According to the budget that we are providing, it would continue 12 months,” UPDF Joint Chief of Staff Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda stated in response to MPs’ worries over the operation’s duration.
“Today, if the ADF were to surrender, the war would stop right now.” “Because an operational issue is highly fluid, it depends,” he continued.
Last month, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi hinted that the UPDF’s presence in Congo will be temporary, citing a memorandum of agreement between Ugandan and Congolese troops that specifies the operation would be reviewed in two months.
“With our Parliament fully informed, I would restrict these activities, the deployment of the Ugandan army on our land, to the period that is absolutely required,” he stated in his December state of the country speech.
The funds sought by the UPDF will be used to acquire logistics for the fight, including as military weapons, wages, clothes and food, and medical and communication equipment.
The funds are included in the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs’ budget for fiscal year 2022/23. The Ministry of Defence proposed a budget of Ush6.7 trillion ($1.9 billion), but the Ministry of Finance lowered it to Ush3.8 trillion ($1.1 billion).
On November 30, 2021, the UPDF conducted airstrikes and artillery bombardment from its territory against ADF camps in the DRC’s North Kivu and Ituri regions, and the army deployed its mountain brigade the following day in a coordinated operation with the Congolese army.
Uganda sent troops to eastern Congo in response to a series of terrorist assaults in Kampala by alleged ADF members, in which at least five people were killed.
The army claims to have taken at least six ADF camps as well as 45 soldiers, including a prominent leader. It also claims to have killed over 100 insurgents, with 61 surrenderings.
The ADF is a Ugandan terrorist organization that was founded in 1995 but now operates out of eastern DRC, where it prepares terrorist attacks against Ugandan and Congolese people. It has recently gotten linked with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, dubbing itself the ISIS Central Africa Province.
Between October 24 and November 16, last year, the ADF is accused of carrying out a series of fatal bomb assaults in Kampala, killing at least five people and wounding many more.