Hundreds of Congo Rebels Surrender in Uganda

At least 1,700 rebels have surrendered to Ugandan authorities in the two days since the leader of the M23 rebel group said it was giving up its two-year fight against the government in Congo, an official said Thursday. The M23 group announced on Tuesday that it would stop fighting after the Congolese military seized the last of its strongholds. Uganda has been brokering peace talks between the M23 rebels and the Congolese government. After Tuesday’s announcement, a large group of rebels surrendered to the Ugandan military and were being held near the Congo-Uganda border, the Associated Press reports. A Ugandan military official said the rebels were disarmed and being registered with Ugandan authorities. The rebels have they will continue to pursue its goals through the political system. [AP]

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Heavy fighting erupts near Congo-Uganda border

(KINSHASA, Congo) — Heavy fighting erupted Wednesday as the Congolese army attacked one of the last remaining strongholds of the M23 rebels near the Ugandan border, forcing more than 10,000 Congolese to flee into Uganda, officials and humanitarian workers said Wednesday. Among those crossing the border Wednesday was Bertrand Bisimwa, the civilian head of the M23 rebel movement, who was reported to be on his way to the Ugandan capital, Kampala, at the request of a mediator trying to bring an end to the 18-month rebellion, according to Uganda’s top military spokesman. Bisimwa does not face arrest in Uganda, which has been mediating failed peace talks between the Congolese government troops M23 rebels since December, said Uganda Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda. The talks stalled again earlier this month, and within days clashes erupted between United Nations-backed Congolese forces and the rebels. Another Ugandan army spokesman, Lt. Ninsiima Rwemijuma, said Wednesday that two M23 rebels armed with AK-47 rifles surrendered to Ugandan border authorities Wednesday morning. Rwemijuma, who speaks for Ugandan forces near the Congo border, said the militants were believed to be M23 fighters. They were disarmed and are now “under investigation,” he said. Bunagana is believed to be the rebels’ last significant stronghold after a recent Congolese military offensive prompted the rebels to retreat — the reason many Congolese are now crossing into Uganda with some of their prized possessions. Lucy Beck, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency in Uganda, said the Congolese crossing the border are now “too many to count.” Humanitarian workers on the Ugandan side of the border could hear gunfire from the Bunagana border post just a few kilometers (miles) away. The number of Congolese seeking refuge in Uganda rose from 5,000 to more than 10,000 within hours Wednesday, she said. Julien Paluku, the governor of North Kivu province, confirmed that clashes were under way near Bunagana. The M23 movement emerged in April 2012, the latest incarnation of an ethnic Tutsi rebel group dissatisfied with the Congolese government. Neighboring Rwanda, whose president is also………….

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Council adopts decision on the launch of EUTM Somalia

COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Brussels, 31 March 2010, 8208/10 (Presse 80)

Council adopts decision on the launch of EUTM Somalia

The Council adopted today – by written procedure – a decision on the launch of a European Union military mission to contribute to the training of Somali security forces (EUTM Somalia). This Council decision, which follows the approval of the Mission Plan for EUTM Somalia, provides that the Mission will be launched on 7 April 2010.

The objective of EUTM Somalia is to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia as a functioning government serving the Somali population, as well as to contribute to a comprehensive and sustainable perspective for the development of the Somali Security Sector by strengthening the Somali Security Forces through the provision of specific military training and support.

EUTM Somalia will take place mainly in Uganda, where Somali forces are already being trained. The EU military mission will operate in close cooperation and coordination with international partners in particular the United Nations, the African Union, AMISOM, and the United States.

Source: Council of the European Union