At least 70 hardened former rebel M23 combatants have been repatriated to their home country – the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The voluntarily repatriation, which occurred on Tuesday, was witnessed by Ministry of ForeignAffairs official, Amb Robert Masolo.
“When we see them returning to their country, it is a positive for the stability of the region,” said Masolo.
“Our presidents are interested in the stability of the region,” he added.
M23 rebels found their way in Uganda in 2013 after being defeated by a joint force of troops from Malawi, DRC, South Africa and Tanzania.
The rebels had waged a rebellion in South Kivu, challenging the government of former president Joseph Kabila.
In Uganda, the rebels were cantoned at Bihanga military barracks.
Some of the M23 rebel leaders such as Sultan Makenga escaped from Uganda to return to the jungles in DRC.
The fate of M23 remains unclear considering Kabila who had treated the rebels with iron fist was recently succeeded by Felix Tshisekedi.
Eyalama website understands MONUSCO’s members of staff, Congolese officials and some DRC armed forces on February 12 traveled to Bihanga camp in western Uganda where they met with M23 fighters.
A member of the M23 political leadership last week alleged that the demobilized fighters were being forcefully repatriated, a claim the army dismissed as groundless.
“The Uganda government was aware and facilitated the visit of the Mechanism officials to Bihanga on February 12, 2019. The repatriation of the Ex Combatants, however, should not in any way undermine the full implementation of the signed December 2013 Nairobi Declarationby the concerned parties,” he emphasised.
The former rebels were airlifted in a United Nations plane enroute to DRC