The Commander of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces, Colonel Michael Walaka Hyeroba, serving under the East African Regional (EACRF) Force in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has urged his troops to be on the lookout and defend themselves in the event they come under attack.
Col. Hyeroba made the call during an ad hoc operational meeting he held with commanding officers and men in lieu of the rapidly changing security environment in EACRF areas of operation.
“We should ensure constant alertness and readiness to act anytime. Be ready to defend yourselves. If they attack, don’t wait. The mandate gives us the right to self-defence,” Col. Hyeroba warned.
This comes at a time of ongoing threats against the mission troops following a series of attacks on the forces of Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda.
Col. Hyeroba said that if the contingent is to consolidate the dividends registered, the force must accept to be inconvenienced, avoid comfort zones, and adhere to the standard operation procedures while executing its mandate. He urged the commanders to ensure force protection and be on standby, ready to confront any hostility by enemies of peace on the EACRF.
Col. Hyeroba tasked his troops to ensure the protection of those who are under threat and to support the humanitarian actors in case they needed to reach the needy community. He added that the local populace is the reason why EACRF is in the DRC for peacekeeping missions and to stabilise the entire region at large.
He thanked the officers and men for the spirit of Pan-Africanism and the sacrifice rendered to the government and the people of the DRC in the pacification of North Kivu.
The Contingent Commander reminded the commanding officers and the troops that UPDF will support and work closely with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) to ensure total restoration of peace and stability. He said that this will be achieved through peaceful dialogue as enshrined in the mandate approved by the East African Regional Heads of State Conclave held on April 21, 2022, in Nairobi, the Extra-Ordinary Summit of East African Presidents (Bujumbura) on February 4, 2023, and the decisions of the Chief of Defence Forces of February 9, 2023, in Nairobi.