February 1, 2015

UPDF Issues 3-Month Ultimatum For M23 Rebels

The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) has issued a 3 month ultimatum for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government to agree with the M23 Rebels about their repatriation or they will be handed over to the United Nations, defense spokesperson Paddy Ankunda has said.

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The rebels who are currently under UPDF protection at Bihanga military camp had on earlier protested the manner in which the repatriations are being handled by the DRC government.

The rebels allege that many of their colleagues that have agreed to the repatriation have died under unclear circumstances as they seek amnesty, an allegation the DRC government has strongly denied.

The rebels have written a letter to the ICGLR before, challenging their repatriation and the alleged violation of the Nairobi accord that was signed to end the war and offer them amnesty.

The UPDF now says they will only continue to provide protection to the M23 for 3 months after which they will hand the rebels over to the United Nations.

M23 leader Bertrand Bisiimwa said that they are preparing a statement over  the matter and will communicate to the press.

He however held that they are not ready to return to DRC if the government has not resolved their concerns.

M23 rebels waged war on the DRC government over violation of an earlier accord that sought to re-intergrate them into the DRC army.

The war that lasted over two years saw them take over key towns in the Eastern DRC which included Goma and North Kivu, however, they were repelled after a combined effort by the MONUSCO and DRC government forces.

They crossed into Uganda and denounced war before being transferred to Bihanga military camp where they have spent over a year.

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