Congo, Uganda leaders agree on sharing intel to fight rebels

By Saleh Mwanamilongo*

Museveni shakes hands with Kabila (L) in Angola during the ICGLR Summit in June
Museveni shakes hands with Kabila (L) in Angola during the ICGLR Summit in June

KASESE, Uganda — The leaders of Uganda and Congo agreed Thursday on a plan to share security intelligence to combat rebel groups active along the countries’ border.

Congo President Joseph Kabila and Uganda President Yoweri Museveni made the announcement after meeting in Uganda to discuss security.

The Uganda-based rebel group Allied Democratic Forces has killed at least 500 civilians in the Beni region in Congo’s North Kivu province since October 2014.

“We have decided to fight against all forms of recruitment from Uganda,” Museveni said. “We are currently taking steps with security services so that they can exchange the needed information, but we also recognize that there may be recruitment from Congo.”

Eastern Congo is home to multiple armed groups competing for control of the region’s vast mineral resources.

One former rebel group, M23, operated in eastern Congo from 2012 until it was repulsed by U.N. forces and Congo’s army. Many rebels fled to Rwanda and Uganda before a 2013 peace agreement. Museveni said Uganda would hand over any remaining former rebels.

The leaders also said they will form a joint committee on oil exploration.

Uganda, which first discovered oil in the Albertine Graben area in 2006, hopes to begin crude production before 2020. One block on offer lies in the Lake Edward basin which extends into Congo, forming part of Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kabila, who hadn’t publicly addressed his political future or the electoral process ahead of elections planned for November, said that “until we have a voter register and as soon as the voter register is available, then an electoral calendar will published.”

Opposition groups say Kabila wants to postpone elections to stay in power beyond his mandate, which ends in December.

*AP/Washington Post

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