DR Congo rebels to hand over captured border town

The M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo are withdrawing from the eastern border town of Bunagana and are expected to hand it over to Ugandan peacekeeping troops, the group’s spokesperson has said.

Ugandan troops believed to be in their thousands were on Thursday afternoon seen crossing into the town.

M23 spokesman Major Willy Ngoma told the BBC that they will hand over the town on Friday morning.

The withdrawal is part of a deal brokered by regional heads of state and army chiefs following meetings held in Angola, Burundi and Kenya, Mr Ngoma said.

The town of Bunagana town was once the rebels’ headquarters. They recaptured it last June.

The rebels are meant to withdraw from all areas of Rutshuru, Masisi and Nyiragongo that it has occupied since hostilities resumed last year.

In a statement, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said the country’s troops were going toj Bunagana “to act as a neutral force as the Congolese use time to sort out their political problems”.

Burundi and Kenya have already deployed troops in territories where the rebels have left. South Sudan is also expected to send in troops.

A relative calm reigns in the war-torn part of the eastern DR Congo, where more than 500,000 people have been displaced by the fighting.

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