Colonel Michael Walaka Hyeroba, the Commander of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) contingent serving under the East African Regional Force (EACRF) in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has advised his troops to remain vigilant and prepared to defend themselves if they come under attack. This call to action was made during an ad-hoc operational meeting held on November 3, 2023, with Commanding Officers and Men.
Colonel Hyeroba emphasized the importance of constant alertness and readiness to respond at any moment. He stressed, “Be ready to defend yourselves. If they attack, don’t wait. The mandate gives us the right to self-defense.”
This directive comes in the wake of ongoing threats against the mission’s troops following a series of attacks on forces from Burundi, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda contingents within the EACRF.
Colonel Hyeroba highlighted that for the contingent to maintain the progress achieved, they must be prepared to face inconvenience, avoid comfort zones, and strictly adhere to standard operating procedures while carrying out their mission.
He also urged the commanding officers to ensure the protection of their forces and to be on standby, ready to confront any hostilities perpetrated by those who oppose peace in the EACRF region.
In addition to self-defense, Colonel Hyeroba assigned a critical mission to his troops, emphasizing the need to protect those at risk and to provide support to humanitarian organizations when necessary. The local population is the primary reason for EACRF’s presence in the DRC, as the mission aims to promote peace and stability throughout the region.
Colonel Hyeroba expressed his gratitude to the officers and troops for their dedication to the principles of Pan-Africanism and the sacrifices they have made in assisting the government and people of the DRC in pacifying North Kivu.
He also made it clear that UPDF will work closely with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) to ensure the complete restoration of peace and stability. This collaborative effort will follow the peaceful dialogue approach outlined in the mandate approved by the East African Regional Heads of State Conclave on April 21, 2022, the Extra-Ordinary Summit of East African presidents in Bujumbura on February 4, 2023, and the decisions of the Chief of Defence Forces on February 9, 2023, in Nairobi.