Uganda will be the third country to deploy troops after contingents from Kenya and Burundi arrived in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Ugandan army said Monday it will send 1,000 troops to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) later this month to join a regional force mandated to help end decades of instability.
The seven countries of the East African Community (EAC), which the DRC joined this year, agreed in April to set up a force to fight militant groups in the east.
Uganda will be the third country to deploy troops after contingents from Kenya and Burundi have arrived in the area, said Ugandan army spokesman Felix Kulayigye. But some activist groups and officials have opposed their participation because of Uganda’s role in the DRC conflict.
In September, Uganda paid Congo $65 million, the first payment of $325 million in reparations for losses caused by Ugandan troops occupying Congolese territory in the 1990s.
Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is already home to hundreds of Ugandan troops, deployed nearly a year ago under a separate bilateral agreement to help hunt down ISIL’s ally group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Despite billions of dollars spent on one of the United Nations’ largest peacekeeping forces, more than 120 armed groups continue to operate in large swathes of eastern Congo, including the M23 rebels, whom the Congo has repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting. Kigali denies the claims.
The UN says it found evidence contrary to Kigali’s claims.
The M23 has carried out a major offensive this year, seizing territory, forcing thousands of people from their homes and sparking a diplomatic row between Congo and Rwanda.
On Friday, the EAC said former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwandan President Paul Kagame had agreed on the need for the M23 rebels to cease fire and withdraw from captured territory.