UPDF Starts Hunt for Congo Rebel Leader
By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) has announced plans to kick start strategic investigations into alleged claims of Congolese rebel groups operating in West Nile region.
Lt. Ahmad Hassan Kato, the UPDF 4th Division Spokesperson told this website in a telephone interview on Tuesday that the Army is going to subject the rebel claims into thorough investigations which may lead to the arrest of its leaders.
Kato was reacting to the allegations made by Dr. Jefferson Abdallah Pene Mbaka, the governor of Ituri Province in Eastern DRC that West Nile districts of Koboko and Arua are harboring the M18 and the Army for the liberation of the people of Congo (ALPC), a new rebel outfit fighting the government of Joseph Kabila.
According to Mbaka, ALPC is currently operating under the leadership of a one Taban Ayiki, whom he said is currently hiding in Arua town.
Mbaka made the allegations during a closed door meeting attended by top security officers from both DRC and Uganda at Shammah 2 Hotel in Aruu town, Eastern DRC.
“The information we have received indicates that the two Congolese rebel groups are currently active with their bases in Koboko, Maracha and Arua districts,” Mbaka said.
Mbaka went ahead to claim that that the M18 are in between Koboko and Arua trying to reorganize to attack Kabila’s government.
“We rely on the will of Uganda government to neutralize the two rebel groups so that their leaders can be arrested and surrendered to Kinshasha government,” Mbaka noted.
Lt Kato said that the army is ready to integrate the rebels into Congo Army and give amnesty to those, who are not willing to join the force.
“We are giving the claims a benefit of no doubt, and as a result, we are going to find out whether we have a person (rebel leader) of the names, Taban Ayiki,” Kato said.
“As UPDF, we shall see how we can dig out facts about this man, and if we find out that truly, he is a rebel leader and hiding in Arua, we shall arrest and hand him over to Congolese government as requested,” Kato explained.
Kato also observed that Ugandan government is in good books with the Congolese government, adding that it is for this reason that Uganda will never provide grounds for harboring Congolese rebels.