The United Nations Mission in Congo-MONUSCO have confirmed receipt of a list containing 1350 names of ex-combatants of the defunct M23 rebel group.
General Abdallah Waffi, MONUSCO deputy head confirmed receipt of the list of the combatants who are currently being held by UPDF at Bihanga Military Training school in Ibanda District.
This comes just a week after UN report accused Uganda of refusing to submit the names of the rebels and the arms they crossed with to Uganda for review. General Abdallah Waffi says he has had the chance to visit the site where the rebels are being held but could neither confirm nor deny reports that M23 is recruiting.
He however says that what he saw ‘doesn’t give the impression of soldiers preparing to attack’.The statement will come as a relief for Ugandan authorities, which have had to explain themselves over the report from the group of experts that implicated Uganda in supporting the M23 rebels. Paddy Ankunda, the army spokesperson says the army will soon parade the rebels to show that they are not re-organizing or re-training.
The UPDF has also requested for a joint verification mechanism to help identify the rebels that are being held in Bihanga. Following M23’s defeat in November last year, M23 leader Sultan Makenga surrendered to Uganda together with some of his troops. UPDF has since been keeping the rebels as they awaiting their re-integration into the Congolese army and society.
On Wednesday last week, the Congolese parliament passed the amnesty bill, which has been vital in the agreement signed between the Congolese government and M23 in Nairobi following a year of talks in Kampala.