To say that there is mounting evidence that M23 is based in Uganda is an understatement. In 2014, after their defeat, M23 moved to Uganda at Museveni’s request and lived in a facility protected by his Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) at Bihanga Military Training School. They rested and reorganized under Museveni’s supervision and when they were ready, they crossed back into Congo in 2017 and began launching attacks. Once again, elements of the M23 are falling back into Uganda with reports of two M23 “arrested” in Kisoro yesterday.
There is a contradiction in the claim that M23 members have been arrested in Uganda. Since 2014, they were hosted by Museveni and Uganda categorically refused to surrender them to either the ICC or to the Congolese government. When news that the armed group’s leadership (including the top boss Sultani Makenga) with hundreds of their best fighters had simply walked out of the army camp and crossed into Congo, Ugandan authorities insisted that over 270 members of M23 were still hosted at Bahinga Military Training School. As pressured mounted for UPDF to account for the dangerous M23 members, UPDF eventually admitted that Sultan Makenga and other senior M23 had “escaped” but entangled itself with claims that M23 were not actually under detention.
“Makenga was never in prison…But as regard to his movement, he was a free man,” Brig. Richard Karemire, the army spokesperson said back in 2017. Why would they claim to be arresting two M23 now? And what would they charge them with now, in 2021, that was not a crime in 2014?
It does not take a military genius to see that M23 hits in DR Congo and runs to Uganda to reorganize. The Kisoro “arrest of M23” is a ploy to protect them, he will releases them once they are rested to execute his plan to destabilize the region. It has happened before in Mbarara, UPDF once announced that they had arrested 101 M23 fighters back in 2017; predictably, they were released by CMI. It will not take long for CMI to release the two M23 arrested yesterday; in fact, they might already be free!