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November 07, 2013

Ugandan Official Says M23 Commander Surrendered

by VOA News

A Ugandan military official says the top commander of a rebel group in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo has surrendered.

The official said Thursday Ugandan forces are holding M23 commander Sultani Makenga along with a group of his fighters after they turned themselves in.

The M23 rebels declared earlier this week they were giving up their fight after losing the last of the territory they once controlled in eastern Congo.  The group vowed to pursue their goals through political means. On Wednesday, the rebels began surrendering their weapons.

A DRC army spokesman said Congolese forces now plan to go after other armed groups that operate on DRC territory, such as the Rwandan Hutu rebel group FDLR.

Eastern Congo has endured years of fighting involving the government and various rebel groups, usually over control of the area's rich mines.

M23 consists of fighters who joined the Congolese army in a 2009 peace deal but later defected after complaining of poor treatment.  They launched their rebellion in April 2012 and seized territory in Congo's North Kivu province.

Congo has accused neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of supporting M23, an allegation both countries deny.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.