The soldiers were handed over on Wednesday at a function held at the 23rd battalion at Rusese barracks in Kasese.
718 Congolese soldiers, who had fled the fighting in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to Uganda, have been handed over to their government.
The soldiers were handed over on Wednesday at a function held at the 23rd battalion at Rusese barracks in Kasese. They were received by the Congolese deputy Ambassador to Uganda Jean Pierre Massala, the Congolese army 708 sector commanders Col. Eric Ruhorimbere and his deputy Bisamaza Risseiur.
Last week the soldiers fled into Uganda through Bunagana border post after the M23 rebels overrun the border town. They have been camping at 305 UPDF brigade at Hima barracks in Kasese district.
Looking tired, the repatriated soldiers included 579 Congolese army (FARDC) members, 42 policemen and women and refugees who included 31 women and 33 children.
The soldiers were sent back home with their weapons which included 618 Sub-Machine Guns, 42 RPG shells, 1 Grenade launcher and communication gadgets which included 59 walk talkies and 15 chargers.
While handing over the soldiers, the Kasese resident district commissioner Milton Odongo who represented the government appealed to the Congolese government not to punish the soldiers for their decision to run away from the battle field saying that it was the right decision because it saved many lives.
The Congolese deputy Ambassador to Uganda, Jean Pierre Massala thanked the Ugandan government for being hospitable to the soldiers.
Javier Sanjuan, the United Nations human rights officer and Saleh Mahboob, the UN security adviser witnessed the handover of the soldiers.
Meanwhile U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked told Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his DRC counterpart Joseph Kabila to do more to end what he called deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in Eastern DRC.
Ban phoned both leaders to discuss the situation in the mineral-rich eastern Congo province of North Kivu, which has been swept by violence since March after hundreds of former rebels defected from the army.
Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement that the Secretary-General expressed grave concern over reports that the M23 mutineers fighting Government forces in North Kivu are receiving external support and are well-trained, armed and equipped.
An addendum to a recent report by U.N. experts found "substantial evidence” linking Rwandan officials to armed groups including the M23 rebels who have overrun a string of towns in Eastern Congo. Rwanda however denies the allegations.
fighting in congo
democratic republic of congo