M23 head flees to Uganda
Posted Thursday, October 31 2013 at 02:00
Kampala- The president of M23 rebel group, Mr Bertrand Bisimwa, yesterday fled to Uganda as Congolese troops backed by a special regional intervention brigade captured rebel strongholds in North Kivu Province.
“It’s true he is around, I’m not sure he has run away, he may be here as part of efforts to contribute to the peace talks,” the UPDF spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, said last evening.
Earlier, a security source told this newspaper that Mr Bisimwa entered through Bunagana as the rebels’ lairs came under heavy shelling over the past week.
In the latest round of military confrontations since the inconclusive peace talks in Kampala, M23 fighters retreated from the frontline, losing Kiwanja, Rutshuru and Rumangabo strongholds to rapidly advancing Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo Forces (FARDC).
By last night, it emerged that President Joseph Kabila’s forces had captured the strategic Bunagana border post with Uganda, more than a year since the rebels captured it.
Kisoro leaders speak out
“The Congolese government has repossessed Bunagana border town after chasing away the M23 rebels,” the Resident District ommissioner of the neighbouring Kisoro, Mr Ahmed Doka, said. ”We hope the situation shall be normal and the problem of refuges solved.”
Uganda presently hosts more than 100, 000 Congolese. The overpowered M23 rebels reportedly scattered into the bushes, with some sneaking into Uganda as refugees.
News of the Bunagana takeover prompted thousands of Congolese nationals, who in the past week had ran to Uganda for safety, to stream back home in large numbers. The situation remained calm, but tense, witnesses said.
In November last year, the M23 rebel group overran Goma City after Congolese soldiers retreated hurriedly without firing back.
The International Conference on Great Lakes Region, a 11-memebr regional bloc chaired by President Museveni, sweet-talked the rebels to withdraw from Goma as a pre-condition for dialogue whose pact both parties refused to sign.