Great Lakes Region agrees to pursue rebels
New Vision / Catherine Bekunda – 15/12/2011
MINISTER in the Great Lakes Region meeting at Munyonyo have unanimously agreed to pursue rebel groups operating within the Great Lakes Region.
The decision was arrived at during an Inter-Ministerial meeting of ministers of defence, gender and foreign affairs from the 11 member countries that make up the International Conference of the Great Lakes region (ICGLR). The countries are Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Central African Republic, Tanzania and Kenya.
This was disclosed by the outgoing Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula in an exclusive interview with New Vision. She said, “the the presence of negative forces in one country poses a risk to the whole region.”
“The defence ministers and intelligence chiefs presented their case to us and told us that negative forces were regrouping and recruiting especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” Mulamula said.
She said groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army currently operating in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Congo), Mayi -Mayi and Allied Democratic forces both in Eastern Congo and the Forces for the liberation of Rwanda though neutralised, have the capacity to destabilise the whole region.
“We have other numerous armed groups littered around our region. We cannot say all is safe, eastern Congo is not yet safe and when DRC explodes all of us explode,” Mulamula said justifying the reason for the joint venture.
The recommendation will be presented to the heads of state today (Thursday) for approval.
Referring to the map of Africa, Mulamula said it was formed in a shape of a pistol. “The trigger is on DRC and we have been working tirelessly to avoid the trigger,” she said.
Earlier, a top Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) commander had intimated to this paper that government was aware that ADF was recruiting and re-organising itself in Eastern Congo.
“We are aware that ADF is recruiting and this poses a big threat to the security of our country. We welcome the minister’s decision. It will enable us to solve the problem of negative forces once and for all,” Brig. Gen James Mugira the Chief of Military Intelligence told the New Vision in a telephone interview.
He added, “Security is the basic infrastructure if development is to take place. The presence of negative forces has been hindering development in our region for a long time.”
Already there has been a joint effort to pursue the elusive LRA leader Joseph Kony by security personnel drawn from Uganda, South Sudan Congo and Central African Republic.
Mulamula ruled out foreign intervention to solve the regions’ security problems saying “Security is paramount. You cannot delegate your security to others.”
“They (foreign countries) can come upon private invitation by a member state but not an imposition. We shall not allow them to attack us like they did in Libya. No country will allow that,” Mulamula stated.
Recently over 100 US troops arrived in the country to help in fight against Kony. They will provide mainly intelligence information to Uganda.