Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have discussed the “Implementation of the Status of the Forces Agreement (SOFA) in a bid to ensure peace and security in the region.
This follow the Status of the Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Uganda and DRC that was signed in regard to operation Shujaa by the Ugandan Defence Minister Vincent Ssempijja and his counterpart Dr. Gilbert Kabanda Kurhenga on the January 30 2022 at Protea Hotel-Skyz in Kampala.
The objective of the SOFA is to govern the conduct of soldiers of both the sending and the host country and their operational activities in the host country.
This took place as UPDF Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Wilson Mbandi met his counterpart DRC, Chief of General Staff, Gen Munsense Celestin at the office building of the governor of Ituri Province in Bunia, DRC.
The two reviewed and evaluated the progress of the UPDF-FARDC Joint Operation “Shujaa” in DRC in the Eastern Province of Ituri and North Kivu province against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) that was launched on November 30 2021, with a view to make improvements during the rest of the operation.
The evaluation meeting, which was held in an atmosphere of friendliness and frankness, noted the essence of the urgency in resolving the insecurity prevailing in the province of Ituri.
The meeting observed that since the launch of Operation Shujaa phase 1 on November 30, 2021 and phase 2 on February 8, 2022 in Eastern and North Kivu DRC, a lot have been achieved but not limited to good behavior and military discipline has been exhibited by the two forces, dismantling and control of all ADF by the Joint Forces among others.
The meeting stressed that the next phase of operation Shujaa will focus on; neutralizing the enemy’s freedom of action and movement, hindering its recruitment and training drive, disconnecting the enemy’s communication and coordination network with other negative forces in the region.
The two countries will also ensure the cutting off the enemy’s supply routes, securing more liberated areas thereby protecting civilians and enabling IDPs to return to their homes.
The next phase will also include ensuring the safety of road works on Kasindi-Beni-Butembo and Bunagana-Rutshuru-Goma roads among others.
The need to take into account the timelines given to operations in order to avoid prolonging the mission unnecessarily was equally emphasised.