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Uganda: Whether Uganda authorities planned an invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC) and whether they recruited youths for this purpose

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 12 February 2001
Citation / Document Symbol UGA36245.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Uganda: Whether Uganda authorities planned an invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC) and whether they recruited youths for this purpose, 12 February 2001, UGA36245.E, available at: [accessed 22 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

No reference to a planned the invasion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (RDC) by Uganda could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. Nonetheless, Uganda and Rwanda reportedly backed Congolese rebels in their efforts to overthrow the late President of the RDC, Laurent Kabila (ARB Aug. 1998; The Monitor 31 Aug. 2000; AI 3 Sept. 1998; IRIN 19 Nov. 1999).

The Mouvement de liberation congolais (MLC) led by Jean-Pierre Bemba is supported by Uganda while the Rassemblement congolais pour la démocratie (RDC) led by Eile Illunga is backed by Rwanda (IRIN 19 Nov. 1999). The RDC is further divided into RDC-Goma backed by Uganda and RDC-Kisangani backed by Rwanda (ibid.).

Uganda initially denied that it had any forces in the DRC but on 25 August [ 1998] the Ugandan authorities admitted that their government had troops in the DRC. They denied reports that Ugandan troops were fighting alongside members of the RCD and RPA, and claimed that their troops were in the DRC solely to prevent ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) incursions from there into Uganda (AI 3 Sept. 1998).

ADF is a rebel force that has been fighting the government of Uganda since 1996. ARB and ION and corroborate the above information and add that Ugandan battalions poured into Congo through Arua, northern Uganda (ARB Aug. 1998, 13223, ION 29 Aug. 1998).

Recently, President Yoweri Museveni reportedly explained that Uganda had gone to the RDC to stop Sudan from using airbases in the Congo to attack Uganda and also to dismantle the ADF (New Vision 22 Jan. 2001). President Museveni reportedly also said that "we have actually achieved both aims. We have chased Sudan out of Congo and we have finished ADF. Our intervention was very successful" (ibid.).

In June 2000, the Ugandan People's Defence Forces (UPDF) denied accusations by Amnesty International that it had recruited children under 18 years of age for the purpose of fighting in the RDC (The Monitor 2 June 2000). However, a local UPDF commander reportedly stated that some Ugandan soldiers who went to fight in the RDC were between 17 and 18 years of age, and left schools and "went straight to the DRC" (The Monitor 8 Aug. 2000).

An article on child soldiers posted on the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation Website states that despite ratifying the 1990 African Charter for the Rights and Welfare of the Child, "Angola and Uganda are still recruiting children under the age of 18. Angola recruits children at 17 and Uganda at 13 years of age as volunteers" (n.d.).

Under the Lusaka Peace Accord signed by Uganda, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and the RDC in Lusaka, Zambia on 10 July 1999, Uganda and Rwanda agreed to demobilize their soldiers in the Congo (IRIN 10 Nov. 1999). The Monitor reports that following this agreement, "five UPDF battalions of between 3,000-4,000 soldiers were returning to Uganda (5 July 2000).

For additional information on Uganda's involvement in the RDC, please consult the Research Directorate's issue paper of December 1998: Democratic Republic of Congo: The August 1998 Rebellion and Affected Groups, available.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please see the list of additional sources consulted in Researching this Information Request.


Amnesty International. 3 September 1998. Democratic Republic of Congo: A Long- standing Crisis Spinning out of Control. (AI Index: AFR 61/33/98) London: Amnesty International

Africa Research Bulletin: Political, Social and Cultural Series [Oxford]. August 1998. "Democratic Republic of the Congo: Kabila Has not Delivered."

The Indian Ocean Newspaper (ION) [Paris]. 29 August 1998. "Congo Buffer Zone." (NEXIS)

IRIN. 10 November 1999. ""DRC: IRIN Briefing on the Lusaka Peace Process [19991110] [Accessed: 9 Feb. 2001]

The Monitor [Kampala]. 8 August 2000. Michael Karugaba, Kagenda Wa Bwambale. "60 Congolese Wives Arrive 100 Wait to Join UPDF Husbands." [Accessed: 11 Aug. 2000]

_____. 6 June 2000. Carolyne Nakazibwe. "Uganda: UPDF Denies Recruiting Child Soldiers for DRC." (Africa News/NEXIS)

New Vision [Kampala]. 22 January 2001. Alfred Wasike. "DRC Intervention Successful."

[Accessed 7 Feb.2001]

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. n.d. Stafania Capodaglio. "Stop Using Child Soldiers." [Accessed 9 Feb. 2001]

Additional Sources Consulted


Resource Centre. Country File. Uganda.

One oral source contacted did not provide information on the requested subject.

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Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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