Uganda has threatened to re-enter the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to fight Ugandan rebel groups who use the vast central African country as a safe haven, a senior government official said on Saturday.
Minister of Defense Crispus Kiyonga told a news conference that under the right of self defense, Ugandan troops may be forced to re-enter the DRC to eliminate negative elements if the international community and the DRC do not act fast.
"We are patient people; we have been having meetings and meetings. Commitments have been made to deal with these terrorists but as far as we are concerned no tangible action has followed," Kiyonga said flanked by Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala, Commander of Land Forces of the Uganda People's Defense Force.
Kiyonga's comments came days after Ugandan troops killed over 40 rebels of the Allied Democratic Force who had crossed from eastern DRC.
He said the Ugandan government has called for a joint military action involving the DRC, Ugandan and UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) troops to flush out the rebels but no action has been taken.
"We reserve the right to self defense, including pursuing the terrorists to their points of origin."
Kiyonga's statements come a day after the Ugandan government issued a strong diplomatic note to the DRC government urging it to take immediate action to ensure that its territory ceases to be used by rebel groups including ADF fighting Ugandan government.
The ADF are accused of committing civilian killings, including the massacre of 80 students of Kichwamba Technical Institute in 1997, the massacre of about 60 civilians in Ndugute in Bundibugyo and planting bombs in Kampala that killed several people in 1999 and 2000.
Ugandan troops in 1998 entered the DRC to flush out the ADF rebels but were later entangled into local conflicts and were indicted for invading and plundering the DRC.