A team of Congolese government officials is in Kampala to inspect weapons formerly belonging to the M23 rebels but now under the Ugandan army custody after the mutineers fled the UN- backed Congolese offensive to Uganda.
The inspection of the weaponry kicked off the process that will see Uganda handover the military hardware and also repatriate hundreds of rebels back to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“The team is led by the State minister for External Relations and the main is reason is to handover the weapons and repatriate the M23 fighters,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Fred Opolot said.
There has been fear that hundreds of the M23 rebels currently camped at Bihanga military training school could resume fighting because of the slow process to repatriate them.
The M23 chairman, Bertrand Bisimwa said in a statement that they are not convinced that the Congolese government is ready to take them back home.
Bisimwa also accuses the Kinshasa government of renegading on the Nairobi Agreement signed in December last year, which provides for return of Congolese refugees in Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.
“The M23 Movement denounces and strongly condemns the approach, in violation of the letter and the spirit of the Nairobi’s Declarations, undertaken by the DRC’s Government since the aftermath of the signing of the Nairobi’s Declarations, Mr Bisimwa, said, “If, as a result, the Government persists in such deception, it must assume publicly the disavowal of the Declarations of Nairobi.”
The rebels also want all the fighters to be granted amnesty but Kinshasa government insists that those who committed crimes should be prosecuted.
“[We] dispel the DRC’s Government deliberately maintained misunderstanding on the application of the amnesty law, in which the eligibility criteria are rendered opaque, that relating to the Provisions Transitional Security to solve the issue of the M23’s combatants, as well as the label "M23 Movement" in which we are recognised by in the Declarations of Nairobi” Mr Bisimwa said.