750 former M23 rebels escape from Bihanga Army Training School

By Emmanuel Ainebyoona

Security officials say 750 former M23 rebels have escaped from Bihanga Army Training School in Western Uganda where they were being accommodated since their defeat by Congolese troops and UN
peace keepers in 2013.

The Intelligence Officer at Bihanga Army Training School Capt. Peter Tuhairwe revealed this during the visit of delegation of Defense Attaches from UN, India, USA, Rwanda, France and Tanzania embassies in Uganda on Wednesday.

The team was in Bihanga to check on the situation of the former rebels, and follow up reports of escape. The most recent cases of escape were registered on January 14 and 16 when 60 and 42 former rebels respectively disappeared.

On January 17, 76 escaped and were arrested in Mbarara and were taken back.

According to Capt. Tuhairwe, the Anxiety to return home is the major reason driving most of them to escape, while others are trying to join their commanders.

According to Capt. Tuheirwe 1377 former M23 rebels were relocated to Bihanga Army Training School from Kavera in Kasese on December 10, 2013. Currently there are 391 former rebels at the School, 750 are
absent (escaped), and 19 are admitted at army hospital in Bombo, one is under detention, nine died, 193 were repatriated, seven are on official duty in Kampala and seven are away with permission.

The (M23) was a rebel military group based in Eastern area of DR Congo, operating mainly in North Kivu Province led by Col. Sultani Makenga. They were defeated in 2013 by Congolese troops and UN peace keepers.