Uganda Again Denies Backing M23 Rebels

November 1, 2013 4:47 am0 comments by:

Kampala-The Ugandan Government, has refuted claims made by the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo that, it captured Ugandan and Rwandese who were fighting alongside the M23 rebels.
The Congolese Government made the claim on Wednesday, shortly after overrunning Bunagana the last bastion of the M23 rebels.
Olivier Hamuli, the Congolese Government spokesperson, claimed that up to 20 Ugandans and Rwandese fighting alongside the M23 rebels were captured.
But Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda, the Ugandan Defense and Army Spokesperson, told the Continent Observer this evening that the report of Ugandans fighting alongside M23 is false.
Ankunda explains that only two M23 fighters surrendered three days ago to the UPDF in Kisoro.
“Of the three only one of them is a former Ugandan soldier who retired six years ago. He comes from Kisoro just adjacent to the areas where M23 operates from in DRC. He said life had become difficult for him in the village the reason why he joined M23”.
Ankunda said this should not be used by the Congolese Government in any way to justify the falsehood that Uganda is supporting the M23 rebels.
In a related development, Lt. Col Ankunda explains since yesterday, at least 51 M23 policemen and soldiers have surrendered to the Ugandan Army.
Anukunda said the guns are in safe custody and diplomatic ways are being explored in handling the group.
The Congolese Government has in the past, accused Uganda and Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels, a charge that both countries deny.
The Congolese with the help of Tanzanian and South African soldiers recently, launched an offensive and retook all the towns that had been under the control of the M23 rebels.
The M23 rebels who are estimated at less than 250 yesterday made an attempt to recapture Bunagana. By late Thursday evening fighting was still raging on and hundreds of refugees who had crossed back to Congo were again forced to flee back to Uganda.
Observers say the capture of Bunagana, the last stronghold of the rebels may mark an end to the group.
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