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Monday,October 21,2019 08:17 AM

40 M23 rebels to be charged in Mbarara

By Betty Amamukirori, Taddeo Bwambale

Added 9th March 2017 08:52 AM

The UPDF deputy spokesperson, Henry Obbo confirmed to New Vision that the rebels who are currently in police custody, will be charged this week.

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The UPDF deputy spokesperson, Henry Obbo confirmed to New Vision that the rebels who are currently in police custody, will be charged this week.

Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi warned that any of the fighters who return home will be arrested if they come back to Uganda. Photo by Godfrey Kimono

40 M23 rebels who were arrested last month by the Uganda Peoples' Defence Forces (UPDF) will be arraigned before the Mbarara court and charged with illegal entry with fire arms.

The UPDF deputy spokesperson, Henry Obbo confirmed to New Vision that the rebels who are currently in police custody, will be charged this week.

"They were supposed to be charged on Tuesday but police was still carrying out the investigations," Obbo said when contacted on yesterday. The rebels were reportedly armed as they tried to sneak into Uganda.

In November 2013, Sultani Makenga the military leader of M23 surrendered with over 1,500 M23 fighters in Mgahinga National Park.

In recent months, several of the former fighters have asked to return home to start a new life while some have been captured trying to sneak back to DRC.

Yesterday, the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi warned that any of the fighters who return home will be arrested if they come back to Uganda.

"Uganda did her best to keep them here. For those who are willing to return home to start a new life, we will help them. If there is any settlement, it should be negotiated," he stated.

"However, we will not allow Uganda to be used to settle scores. If you chose to go back to DRC but later return to Uganda, we will arrest you," Muhoozi warned.

M23 was one of the biggest armed groups operating in eastern DRC between April 2012 and November 2013, during which it fought to control large parts of the mineral-rich country.

The group was accused of several crimes including murder, rape and forced recruitment of children and its leader, Bosco Ntaganda is before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

In November 2012, M23 took control of Goma, a provincial capital but was pressed to evacuate regional leaders and the group finally agreed to negotiate with the government.

In late 2013 Congolese military, backed by UN troops, retook control of Goma and M23 announced a ceasefire, saying it wanted to resume peace talks.

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