Uganda scoffs at DR Congo over M23 rebels

A man screams as people gather to protest in the neighbouhood of Yolo in Kinshasha on December 20. Similar protests have taken place in DR Congo as citizens oppose President Kabila's extended stay in power. AFP photo  


KAMPALA- Uganda’s State Minister for International Relations Mr Okello Oryem has told the Democratic Republic of Congo government to stop making “false allegations” that Congolese rebels of M23 had crossed from Uganda and entered Congolese territory.

“We know there are problems in Kinshasa, but they [government] should not use Uganda as an excuse for their problems,” Mr Oryem said.

DR Congo government spokesperson Lambert Mende told journalists in Kinshasa on Sunday that M23 rebels who have been in Uganda since 2013, after suffering defeat by the combined force of the UN and Congolese army, had made an incursion into Congo.

Mr Oryem said the claims by the Kinshasa are intended to divert attention from increasing pressure on President Joseph Kabila who is trying to fend off mounting opposition over his decision to stay beyond his mandate which expired last month.

Mr Oryem also accused Kinshasa of reneging on its promise to repatriate more than 400 rebels who have been staying in Bihanga Barracks in Ibanda District.

“President Kabila had assured us that they would organise and take them [M23] back but it’s taking forever,” the minister said.

Before their defeat four years ago, the M23 controlled huge swaths of land in the eastern part of the country.