Ugandan Troops in Massive Tree Planting Campaign in North Kivu province

Uganda’s peacekeeping forces in the war-torn North Kivu Province of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have initiated an extensive tree-planting campaign in the Rutshuru territory to promote environmental conservation.

Colonel Michael Walaka Hyeroba, the Ugandan Troops Contingent Commander, inaugurated the campaign on Tuesday by planting 3,000 trees. Hyeroba noted that this campaign reflects both the Ugandan troops’ commitment to preserving the environment and their responsibility to safeguard the ecosystem.

He further explained that in addition to the tree planting initiative, Ugandan troops will engage in educating civilians about the significance of tree planting in their own lands and the importance of environmental protection.

Hyeroba outlined the scope of the campaign, stating that various tree species such as eucalyptus, gravera, jackfruits, mangoes, and pawpaws will be planted across locations including the Ugandan troops’ headquarters in Nyongera Kiwanja, Bunagana, Tshengerero, and Mabenga.

He expressed concerns about the rampant degradation of trees and land cover in the area and its potential impact on the climate in the coming years if not addressed promptly.

Since last year (2022), the March 23 (M23) rebel movement has repeatedly accused the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the DR Congo government of extensive environmental degradation, particularly through tree cutting for charcoal production and sale.

Ugandan troops are deployed in Rutshuru territory, specifically in Bunagana, Kiwanja, Mabenga, and Rutshuru town, as part of the East African Community (EAC) heads of state summit resolutions. These resolutions aimed to reclaim areas previously held by the March 23 Movement rebels after their victory over the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC).

The deployment also aims to establish a buffer zone to prevent further conflict between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers. Troops from Kenya, Burundi, and South Sudan are similarly deployed in Masisi and Nyiragongo territories under the same mission.

M23 initiated hostilities against the DR Congo government, particularly targeting North Kivu province, in March 2022. While the DR Congo government alleges Rwandan support for M23, both Rwanda and M23 vehemently deny this claim.

The rebels contend that they are fighting against perceived governance issues in DR Congo, citing corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination as their motivations.

Scroll to top