Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

7 November 2012

Uganda Police Chief Distances Self From M23

Uganda's Inspector General of Police has denied any involvement with the M23 rebels, describing allegations labeled against him by UN Group of Experts on Congo not only fictitious but also extremely outrageous and offensive.

Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura said the allegations that he met with M23 cadres in May and July 2012 in Kisoro District are being made at a time when the relations between the Uganda Police and the DRC Police, have never been better.

According to the UN report, three M23 cadres and M23 collaborators acknowledged that they have been engaging with high ranking government of Uganda authorities on a weekly basis.

"I, categorically, state that I have never met, as alleged or at all, any M23 rebels or cadres in Kampala, or anywhere else. Indeed, I am curious to know the details of these alleged meetings: where, when, who, and for what purpose, I am supposed to have met M23 cadres/rebels," Gen. Kayihura said in a press statement released yesterday in Kampala, adding that he only visited Kisoro in May while he escorted the then Chairman of EAPCCO, Commissioner General of Rwanda National Police Emmanuel Gasana. Mr Gasana was visiting Uganda as part of his schedule, as chairman of EAPCCO, of visiting member countries, and, also, in the context of our obligations of the Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) between Uganda and Rwanda.

"Mr Gasana was interested to see what Uganda was doing to ensure safety and security along our part of the Northern Corridor, and, also, security at our common border. Among the places we visited on the way, were the border stations of Katuna in Kabale District, and Cyanika in Kisoro District on the same day," Gen. Kayihura said. Gasana later crossed the border back to Kigali that evening.

The IGP also accused the group of experts of not notifying him of their allegations during their investigations or giving him time to respond.

"I am concerned that the Group of Experts would document such grave accusations against me, and the Force I command, and submit such report to the UN Security Council, without seeking my response to the alleged interaction with the rebels, or at the very least, endeavor to verify the information they may have received from some shadowy peddlers of malicious falsehoods and disinformation in the region."

At a personal level, Gen. Kayihura said he found it offensive for anyone to suggest that he would offer support and assistance to a group led by Bosco Ntaganda, who was commander of UPC in Bunia, Ituri, and who, on two separate occasions, tried to assassinate him while I was on a peace mission in Ituri.

The UN report accusing Uganda of aiding rebels fighting the Kinshasa government has been dismissed by Kampala as 'rubbish' and 'baseless'.

Recently, Uganda threatened to withdraw her peacekeeper from Somalia citing malignment by the UN group of experts.

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