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Congolese Soldiers Relocated to Kasese

The Congolese soldiers crossed into Uganda early on Friday after the M23 rebels loyal to renegade Democratic Republic of Congo army officer, General Bosco Ntaganda, overrun the border town of Bunagana.

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The six hundred and twenty six Congolese soldiers who sought refuge in Uganda on Friday have been transferred to Kasese, a top army official has told the media.

Second Division Commander Brigadier Patrick Kankiriho said the UPDF decided to transfer the Congolese solders to Kasese because it is safer than Kisoro district that is near to the war zone across the border.

The Congolese soldiers crossed into Uganda early on Friday after the M23 rebels loyal to renegade Democratic Republic of Congo army officer, General Bosco Ntaganda, overrun the border town of Bunagana.

M23 derive their name from March 23, the date the rebels then led by another renegade officer, General Laurent Nkunda, signed an agreement with the Joseph Kabila government. Nkunda is believed to be under house arrest in Rwanda. The agreement was to have the rebels re-integrated into the Congolese national army, but they later picked up arms claiming that government did not fulfill its promises.

Addressing a press conference in Verina Gardens in Kasese on Sunday evening, Brig. Kankiriho said that twenty four of the troops who sustained injuries during the fighting with the M23 rebels are undergoing treatment at the army base in Kasese. He however, did not disclose where the Congolese troops are being housed due to security reasons.

Brig. Kankiriho, who described the situation at the border as normal, revealed that the Government of Uganda is consulting its counterpart in the DRC over a possible handover of the troops back to

their country.

//Cue in: “They are in Kasese……..

Cue  out:………back to their country.”//

Kankiriho also warned people living in the border districts to be vigilant because the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels are regrouping and recruiting in the DR Congo with an aim of attacking Uganda. He said that intelligence reports indicate that there about one thousand ADF troops who include Rwandese, Congolese and Burundian recruits currently hiding in Congo.

The ADF under Jamil Mukulu have been in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for nearly ten years since the government declared their war ended in 2002. The rebels, then operating from the Rwenzori Mountains, led a brutal campaign against President Museveni’s government from 1996 to 2002. The war is remembered for attacks on civilians including the June 8, 1998 burning of Kichwamba Technical College in Kabarole district in which more than 70 students perished.

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