By Kampala Post Reporter
The Uganda People’s Defense Forces 2nd Division Headquarters on September 7 handed over ten former combatants of rebel group M23 to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Head of Mission, HE Ambassador Jean Pierre Massala.
On the Ugandan side, the UPDF was represented by Col Fred Karara the 2nd Division Commander. The ten M23 ex-combatants were in two categories; four were at Bihanga Military Training School (BMTS).
The ex-combatants who expressed willingness to go back home include Lt Col Alfonse Mashango Ngabo, Capt Frank Jevish Baguma, Capt John Bosco Mugisha and Lt Eugine Abimana Kiwasha.
The remaining six, including; WO1 Ndagijimana Faustina, Cpl Nzeimana John Paul, L/cpl Munyankusi Derrick, Pte Rukundo Vincent, Pte Kubwima Rogers and Pte Nkurunziza Jimmy, had escaped from BMTS to DRC to fight but when they were repulsed, they ran back to Uganda.
The six were eventually arrested in Kisoro border points arraigned in Ndorwa Chief Magistrate Court in Kabale district and charged with illegal entry into Uganda.
They were sentenced to six months imprisonment and after serving their sentence they requested to be repatriated.
Following the bilateral meetings held both in Kampala and 2nd Division Mbarara, it was agreed that former combatants of M23 who were willing to go back home shall be repatriated under the Disarmament Demobilization Reintegration arrangement in Goma DRC.
In his address, Ambassador Jean Pierre Massala saluted the government of Uganda for guiding and protecting Congolese nationals here in Uganda.
He likened the ten M23 combatants as prodigal sons and adding that they would be received into their country in dignity. He revealed that DRC was now peaceful and called upon Congolese nationals to go back to their home and develop their country. Massala promised a descent reintegration for those who wish to go back into society and those willing to join the army FARDC would be welcome.