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M23 Fighters Surrender to Ugandan Military

Congolese soldiers gather for a military brief after M23 rebel fighters surrendered in Chanzo village in the Rutshuru territory, near Goma on November 5, 2013.
Ugandan officials say hundreds of M23 rebels from neighboring Congo have surrendered and are in Ugandan custody. The Ugandan Defense Ministry says around 1,500 fighters from the Congolese rebel group M23 surrendered to the Ugandan military and are currently being held near the Congolese border.

M23 announced earlier this week that it is abandoning a 20-month insurgency in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, after the rebels lost the last of their territory to the Congolese army.

Speaking from the Ugandan capital, Kampala, Ministry of Defense spokesman Paddy Ankunda said the M23 fighters had defected, although it was not yet clear what would be done with them.

“We are registering them, we are receiving them, just like we received the Congolese battalion when they surrendered to us," Ankunda said. "We will be engaging the Congolese government and trying to work out the framework of an agreement which is expected to be signed to sort the group out and settle them.”

The Associated Press reported Thursday that M23 commander Sultani Makenga was among the fighters who had surrendered, although Ankunda could not confirm the report.

Last year, the DRC accused both Uganda and Rwanda of supporting M23. Both countries deny the allegations.