President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has paraded some of the victims of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) who escaped from the terrorist camps in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The victims were paraded on Tuesday 9th January, 2024 as President Museveni addressed the nation on the progress of operations against the ADF and other security matters.
The livetelevised address was held at President Museveni’s country home in Rwakitura, Kiruhura District.
During the broadcast, the victims recounted how they were captured and tortured by the terrorists during captivity.
According to the President, the victims escaped at different times when Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) were attacking the ADF camps in DRC.
“These are some of the children who were either lured into ADF or kidnapped. They are telling you the story of how the UPDF is attacking those bandits and liberating these young people,” said President Museveni who was in company of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Maama Janet Museveni.
“These young people knew that UPDF doesn’t kill people, that is how they were able to run. I’m glad these young people were clever enough to run away and many others are running away; these are just a sample. There are others who escaped recently, they should bring them on TV so that they talk to you.”
One of the victims, Nansubuga Mariam, 20, narrated how her father trafficked her to the camp of ADF in DRC when she was only 7 years old.
“My father took me to a school owned by Sheikh Mbaziira to study when I was 7 years old. But later they took us to the forest in Congo. We were 4 girls and 5 boys. While in Congo, they trained us, and they married me off when I was 8 years of age. We suffered a lot. I escaped in April last year and I was rescued by the UPDF,” she recounted.
On the other hand, President Museveni called upon the ADF terrorists to stop wasting their time because there’s no way they will survive.
He said the ADF met its end when the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo led by H.E Felix Tshisekedi allowed Uganda to hunt the terrorists in Eastern Congo.
“In November 2021, the Congo government allowed us to operate against ADF. Now that was the end of ADF. If they had common sense in their heads, they should have known that there’s no way they can survive once H.E Felix Tshisekedi allowed us to work with the Congo army and clear that area. But these are people who are not well informed, they are just there deceiving themselves, but we have really hit them, even yesterday we were on them. So many of them have been killed and so many people have been liberated,” said Gen. Museveni who is also the Commander In Chief of the UPDF.
“Now, I’m calling on the ADF to stop wasting time because there’s no way they can survive. They don’t know much about warfare, they don’t know the capacity of the army. They have seen this, even yesterday we attacked them, and they will all perish.”
President Museveni also asked the wanainchi, to advise anyone they know, and he is linked to the ADF to surrender.
“Unfortunately, they don’t allow people to listen to radio in the camps, so I can’t say that I’m calling on the people to run away because they don’t allow radios, the only radios we give them are the bombs. The ADF has no chance of surviving, we are hitting all of them in sector One, two, three and now sector four. The wanainchi in Eastern Congo have now gone back to their villages,” he said.
The President further warned the terrorists that Uganda will not move out of DRC until they are wiped out.
“Now recently, the ADF in their stupidity think that if we send some small groups into Uganda to kill people, then the UPDF in Congo will come back to Uganda but that will not happen. That is why they sent the group of Kamusu and Njovu into the Park; they are the ones who killed the children of Lhubiriha, the two tourists and then killed the people in Kamwenge but out of the 10, we have killed 7 now and captured one,” he said.
“Then trying to bring bombs to Uganda like at Kayanja’s church. This we have defeated by vigilance. I want to thank you the Ugandans for being vigilant and exposing these bombs before they go off. But the solution is to finish the ones in Congo because those are the ones sending all these groups and ruining the lives of these young people.”
On the issue of pressures from the west, President Museveni reiterated that Uganda will not allow foreign countries to interfere in its internal affairs.
He admitted that Uganda is part of Africa that was colonised in the past due to chiefs who were selfish and greedy but now the country is independent with good governance.
“Later alone the Churches also came up during colonialism and by the time we came in, in the 1960s, this is what we confronted, and this is how we evolved the four principles: Patriotism, PanAfricanism, Socio-economic transformation and democracy. Now with these, we cannot fail, and you have already seen what has happened like the economy,” the President stressed.
“Therefore, we are a society of wealth creators, some of our people who get carried away by linking up with foreign interests, they forget our strength. All those things you saw here, these are all ours, nothing foreign or from anybody. So, for somebody to come and tell you that unless you follow what we tell you, I will not do this, is really not serious. The weaknesses we had were governance with our leaders who were dividing us. And that is how the NRM came and opposed those divisions.”
President Museveni further assured Ugandans that they should not worry about the foreign pressure but concentrate on among others, fighting corruption amongst themselves because it is one of the real issues affecting the country.
“These are the real problems, not the foreign pressure; to protect our environment because when we damage our swamps and our lakes and forests, this is what can hurt us since it affects our ability to produce. Then the other issue that we need to concentrate on is regional integration because we need to have a bigger market which is very crucial.”