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No sanctuary for new Congolese rebels, Uganda says

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KAMPALA, 25 Jul 2005 (IRIN) - Uganda said on Monday it would not allow the newly-created rebel Congolese Revolutionary Movement or any other armed group to launch attacks from its territory on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"Anybody who attacks Kinshasa, we will be with Kinshasa. They are the ones we share information with, along with MONUC," Lt Col Shaban Bantariza told IRIN in Kampala.

He acknowledged that six leaders of armed groups from northeastern DRC that make up the new alliance were recently in Kampala. Uganda's government may be violating international law by allowing the rebels on its territory, according to statements made by the DRC government and the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC.

Last week the head of MONUC's public information, Kemal Sa´ki, said of Uganda: "They have the obligation to stop allowing or tolerating use of their territory as a rear base, security sanctuary, land of asylum or transit axis for arms shipments to Congolese or foreign militias operating in Ituri or the Kivus."

The rebel leaders claim to have formed their alliance to fight for the rights of people in the Ituri and North Kivu regions. However, Bantariza said the rebels wanted all their troops integrated into the Congolese military. He said the rebels were in Uganda to ask the government to plead with the DRC government, on their behalf, and work out the way in which they could communicate their concerns to officials in Kinshasa.

The rebel leaders also complained that MONUC had attacked their troops and arrested their leaders, Bantariza added.

"We told them that their complaint would be better heard if they endeavoured to be part of the government in Kinshasa," he said.


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