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101 Congolese rebels arrested in Uganda on way to DRC

Rebels had escaped from Bihanga military training school after being given asylum in Uganda in 2013

19.01.2017
101 Congolese rebels arrested in Uganda on way to DRC File Photo

By Godfrey Olukya

ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo

Last night over 100 former M23 rebels were arrested as they attempted to escape from Uganda into the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to authorities in Uganda.

M23 was a rebel military group based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province. In late 2013 Congolese troops with UN troops overpowered them and they fled to Uganda, where they were given asylum as they negotiated for peace with their government.

Uganda government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said Thursday in a statement that the M23 rebels that have been staying at the Bihanga military training school since the 2014 pact with the Democratic Republic of Congo have been quietly escaping.

''Last night Ugandan security intercepted four vehicles at Mbarara [in western Uganda] that were carrying 101 former M23 combatants who were travelling to the DRC.''

He said they were posing as ordinary passengers but upon interrogation it emerged that they were former M23 combatants.

''Consequently they were apprehended and are now being detained at the Makenke barracks,” he added.

He said another group of 40 former M23 combatants were discovered to have escaped a week ago and their whereabouts are unknown, adding that currently 270 of them are still at Bihanga camp.

''Uganda will not and does not support any armed activities to destabilize Congo,” he said. Last Sunday officials in Democratic Republic of Congo said that M23 rebels had attacked their country, which Uganda and MONUSCO denied.

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