M23 Rebels Arrested In South Africa

drug geneva; font-size: small;”>“Today 5th February 2013, South African Police Service’s Counter Terrorism Unit was involved in an intelligence collection initiative focusing on alleged rebel activities, ” said Police publicist Brigadier L Lindela Mashigo in a statement issued today.

Mashigo said “this impeccable operation led to the apprehension of about 19 members of the alleged rebels who were in the periphery areas of Limpopo Province.”

He added: “The take down follows months of intelligence collection on the alleged rebels whose objective is believed to be to overthrow the current government of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).”

The arrest could be a huge setback for the rebels who have been mobilising international support to pressure the Kinshasha government to address their grievances.

The rebels laid down their weapons late last year following a truce brokered by regional leaders under the chairmanship of President Yoweri Museveni.

Based in Bunagana, at the border between Uganda and DRC, the mutineers had earlier pulled out of Goma and other towns which had fallen into their hands.

They accuse President Joseph Kabila on not extending social services to Kivu, segregation in the army and low salaries for civil servants.

M23 combatants further fault the DRC government of orchestrating a massacre of their colleagues who were deployed outside Kivu shortly after their integration into the army in 2009.

The guerrillas are now engaged in peace talks with Kinshasa’s representatives in Kampala.

The rebels’ communication boss Amani Kabasha was not readily available for comment.

SA police said the Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU) of the Division Crime Intelligence and Protection Services (CIPS), worked in conjunction with Crimes Against the State (CATS), which is under the Directorate of Priority Crimes Investigations (DPCI) on this operation.

“The arrests were executed meticulously by the Special Task Force members.”

Mashigo maintained “the alleged bands of 19 rebels are expected to appear in the Pretoria Regional Court today – where they will face a charge of transgressing the Foreign Military Assistance Act.”

He said “further investigations are ongoing.”


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