Uganda Remains an Island of Peace Amidst Conflict Escalations in the East African Region


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Uganda continues to enjoy relative peace and stability despite being bordered by neighbours engaged in conflicts ranging from demonstrations to full-fledged civil wars.

Except for the neighbours in the south—Tanzania and Rwanda—who are stable, the rest of Uganda’s neighbours, who include the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the west, South Sudan in the north, and Kenya in the east, are embroiled in conflict, making Uganda an oasis of tranquillity.

In the DRC, heavy fighting between the country’s army (FARDC) and the M23 rebel group has been underway since M23 resurfaced in 2022 with violent attacks and seizing several towns in North Kivu in the eastern part of the country. The group briefly withdrew from occupied towns in January 2023 as part of the Nairobi Peace Process, but the ceasefire fell apart in October, and fighting has continued.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says the humanitarian crisis in eastern DRC is severe and the situation continues to deteriorate, with those displaced by the violence suffering the brunt of what is termed one of the world’s most neglected crises.

Data from IOM indicates that as of October 2023, 6.9 million people were displaced across the DRC, a number expected to increase as M23 advances towards Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. The data further shows that in North Kivu alone, by the end of May 2024, 1.77 million people had been displaced by attacks from the M23 rebel group.

Several armed groups operating in east DRC continue to worsen the violence, causing widespread displacement and massacres of already struggling civilians, while others, including the displaced, are subjected to theft, burglary, abuse, and harassment.

On Uganda’s east, Kenya, which has been at peace for years, is currently facing violent protests that were triggered by a proposed hike in taxes to cover the country’s staggering debt. The protests have since resulted in the deaths of at least 39 people and the injuries of hundreds, according to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR).

Despite Kenya’s President William Ruto dropping the finance bill, protests have continued in major towns of the country, paralyzing businesses and destroying property worth billions, leaving the country in shambles, according to local media reports.

In the north, South Sudan continues to face a dire humanitarian crisis with conflict between the government, opposing forces, and their respective allied militias, as well as inter-communal violence, resulting in the deaths and displacement of thousands of civilians, according to World Human Rights Watch.

World Human Rights Watch asserts that authorities in South Sudan have failed to ensure accountability for grave violations with impunity continuing to fuel violence, noting that civilians are bearing the burden of widespread attacks, systematic sexual violence against women and girls, the ongoing presence of children in fighting forces, and state-sponsored extrajudicial killings.

With such a volatile neighbourhood, it is no surprise that Uganda is host to millions of refugees since it gives a paradise feel to those running from conflict in their home countries, and it is this peace that Ugandans and the ruling government pride themselves on.

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