Uganda: President Museveni's son, General Muhoozi, back M23 rebels, says they are fighting for rights of Tutsis in DRC

    Uganda’s former Land Forces Commander, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has thrown his weight behind the armed M23 movement in DRC, saying the rebellion is justifiable.

    “As for M23, I think it is very, very dangerous for anybody to fight those brothers of ours,” said Muhoozi on Sunday night.

    “They are NOT terrorists! They are fighting for the rights of Tutsi in DRC,” he emphasised.

    Muhoozi’s remarks contradict the official position of the government of Ugandan on the M23 rebel movement.

    Defence spokesperson Brig Felix Kulayigye earlier this week told ChimpReports that Uganda “does not support M23 at all”, pointing out Kinshasa’s “strong relations with Kampala in fighting the ADF terrorists.”

    Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo also said Uganda’s ties with Congo were “enduring” while the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces warned that M23 risked military action if they remained adamant on leaving Bunagana border town as directed by regional leaders.

    “In our view, M23 should return to its previous positions for a proper dialogue to take place,” said Elweru on Thursday.

    “If the EAC regional forces being deployed unanimously decide to push M23 back, it won’t even take 24 hours, this they know very well,” he emphasised.

    The M23 rebel movement, which Kinshasa says is supported by Rwanda, has since defied orders of regional leaders to vacate Bunagana.

    The rebels say they are defending the Kinyarwanda-speaking communities from attacks by FDLR militia whose ideology and past leadership is blamed for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

    The Congolese government and international groups accuse the M23 rebels of human rights violations and serving as an extension of Rwanda’s armed forces.

    The seizure of Bunagana by M23 rebels has disrupted trade between Uganda and DRC and displaced over 200,000 people with many of them fleeing to Uganda.

    Gen Muhoozi’s remarks could anger DRC whose soldiers are fighting side by side with Ugandan forces in North Kivu against ADF militants.

    On Sunday, Museveni hailed Uganda’s relations with DRC, saying Kinshasa allowed UPDF to operate beyond authorised areas of operations in North Kivu, killing hundreds of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).

    “Wherever they (ADF) go, we shall reach them as long as the Congo Government allows us to operate with them,” said Museveni.

    “Congratulations to the UPDF and congratulations to the Government of DRC and the Army of Congo,” Museveni Tweeted.


    Meanwhile, ChimpReports has learned that DRC has mobilized several warplanes including fighter jets to attack M23 rebels.

    The jets started arriving in Goma on Sunday amid countrywide mobilization for war against M23 in eastern DRC.

    DRC President Felix Tshisekedi on Thursday night directed the Congolese armed forces to set up 26 military training facilities across the country to facilitate mass mobilization and training of soldiers to counter the M23 threat.

    “The war imposed on us by our neighbors (Rwanda) demands sacrifice from each of us,” said Tshisekedi, adding, “It’s time to silence our political differences to defend all together, our motherland.”

    Tshisekedi last year fell out with Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame over counter accusations of supporting armed movements in North Kivu.

    Tshisekedi, who faces an election in 2024, is under intense political pressure to defeat the M23 rebel group which Kinshasa says is backed by Rwanda.

    Kigali denies the accusations and instead blames Congo for embedding the genocidal FDLR fighters in the ranks of Congo’s armed forces.

    Thisekedi said the claim of integrating FDLR in FARDC is a pretext for “Rwanda’s expansionist policies aimed at looting our mineral wealth.”


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    Evarist Chahali

    Evarist Chahali

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