World Bulletin / News Desk
More than 1,600 rebels of the M23 rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), including its military leader Sultani Makenga, have surrendered to the Ugandan government.
"Slightly over 1,600 troops have surrendered," Uganda government spokesman Ofwono Opondo told Anadolu Agency in a telephone interview late Thursday from the capital Kampala.
"They have been crossing into the country in bits," he added.
Opondo also confirmed that Makenga, the commander of the M23 rebels, had handed himself over along with his fighters to Ugandan authorities stationed along the border with the DRC.
The UN accuses Makenga of committing several heinous crimes in DRC which include recruiting child soldiers, murders, sexual offences among others.
Earlier this week the M23 rebels announced they were ending their 20-month insurgency against the Congolese government for allegedly discriminating against Congolese of Rwandan origin.
The announcement came only a few hours after the DRC government said its troops had crushed the rebels.
Opondo said his Uganda will not hand over the former M23 rebels because it does not have extradition treaty with the DRC.
He ruled out any diplomatic crisis with the DRC over the issue.
"The peace facilitation Uganda has been conducting has been at the request of the DRC government," said the government spokesman.
"And the DRC government is fully aware of our engagement with the M23 in terms of being facilitators," he added.
“There are known established norms of international relations and laws that govern prisoners of war or people who have fled from their country or those who have surrendered," Opondo insisted.
Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2013, 14:52