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Former M23 fighters seek safe return to DR Congo

Democratic Republic Of Congo

The ex-combatants of the March 23 Movement (M23), who have been stuck in Uganda for three years, are demanding that Congolese President Kabila respect the terms of their agreement to end hostilities and allow them to return safely to their homes.

The rebel group which was formed by former soldiers in the Congolese army brought havoc to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo before it was finally defeated in late 2013.

“The message we want to convey to the Congolese government is that we need them to fulfill their commitments fully and completely so that we can return home in peace, as we also want to build our country in peace and security too,” said major Julien Mahano from his camp in Uganda.

The rebels currently live in camps for demobilized fighters in Uganda but the east African nation wants them to return home.

“The existence of these M23 here is a burden to the government, because we house them, we provide them medical care, we provide them food and of course their security,” said Arthur King Timbaganya, spokesman for the second division of the Ugandan army.

The M23 rebel group was dissolved in 2013 after the signing in Kenya of a peace agreement between the fighters and the Congolese government.

However, its ex-combatants who are refugees in Uganda have been accused of carrying out some attacks in North Kivu.

The United Nations has also expressed its concern about the increased violence in eastern Congo and called for the deployment of additional troops in the region.

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