Uganda repatriates 45 former DR Congo rebels

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-18 21:47:11|Editor: Zhou Xin
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KAMPALA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Uganda on Wednesday repatriated 45 former Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) rebels back home for disarmament and reintegration.

Brig. Richard Karemire, Ugandan military spokesman, told Xinhua by telephone that the 45 former rebels of the defunct M23 applied voluntarily to go back home.

"I wish them the best. That is their home and country. Similar arrangements are being made to repatriate others," said Karemire.

The former combatants were transported to the border town of Bunagana where they were handed over to the DRC Ambassador to Uganda, Jean Pierre Massala.

M23 was a strong rebel group in eastern DRC before it was defeated by a joint United Nations intervention force in November 2013.

The governments of Uganda and DRC and M23 reached an agreement in 2014 regarding the return of 1,377 former rebels camped at Bihanga military training school in the western district of Ibanda for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration back home.

Of the 1,377 ex-combatants, only 200 have returned home for official disarmament, demobilization and reintegration program.

Uganda expressed concern in September that DRC was slow at reintegrating the former rebels who have been camping in western Uganda.

"We have a problem. These people have no status here. They are not prisoners, they are not refugees. What do we do with them?" Sam Kutesa, Uganda's minister of foreign affairs, told reporters in September.