The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) have returned 50 abductees, comprising 44 females and 6 males, to the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). These individuals were previously held captive by the notorious Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Eastern DRC.
The handover ceremony took place in Kasindi, North Kivu Province, with Major General Dick Olum, the overall Commander of Operation Shujaa, handing over the rescued individuals to Colonel Ekoko Bokeon, the FARDC Beni Sector Second in Command, who represented the Sector Commander.
This marks the third successful handover of rescued abductees by the UPDF to FARDC. In February and September 2023, 34 and 26 individuals were respectively returned, bringing the total number of liberated persons to 110 since the operation began.
Prior to their return, the former abductees received comprehensive support and skills training.
This included counselling, rehabilitation, and practical skills designed to help them reintegrate into their communities and build a brighter future.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Major General Olum encouraged the former abductees to become ambassadors of peace and utilise the knowledge and skills they acquired during their stay in Uganda to improve their lives and contribute to the prosperity of their communities.
Expressing her gratitude on behalf of her fellow abductees, one woman (name witheld) thanked the UPDF and FARDC for their tireless efforts in rescuing and rehabilitating them, ultimately enabling them to reunite with their families and loved ones.
The UPDF and FARDC continue a joint operation against the ADF, aiming to curb rebel activities and liberate civilians, ensuring lasting peace in eastern DRC.