Arua, Northern Uganda — Colonel Eric Zachariah Ndosa, the alleged fugitive leader of the Congolese M18 rebel group is in military custody at the UPDF 409 brigade in Arua district.
Uganda's army, the UPDF says the renegade ex-commander of the Forces Arme'es de la Republique Democratique du Congo (FARDC) brigade in Mahagi district in the Orientale province was abducted by unknown people from Kampala and handed over to Congolese intelligence officers on Saturday.
However they were intercepted by the Ugandan security when they entered West Nile but the Congolese intelligence officers were left to go since they are well known.
"This was an abuse of our territorial integrity of the highest order. We did not know about the presence of a rebel on our soil and if DRC wanted to carry out such an operation, it should have informed us," said Lt. Mark Mutono, the army spokesman for the West Nile region.
The Congolese government has for long complained about the presence of its renegade forces taking refuge in Uganda despite continuous assurance from the Ugandan government that the country will never be a safe haven for negative forces of its neighbours.
Mutono, while briefing journalists on the ongoing interrogation at his Arua office on Sunday, said Ndosa has insisted that he is a refugee and promised that documents to prove his refugee status will be availed to the interrogators on Monday or Tuesday this week.
But Congo insists that Ndosa (pictured right in Arua) is the leader of the recently announced M18 rebels who are causing insecurity in parts of Orientale province such as Omgbokolo and Ariwara.
He reportedly abandoned his command post with other soldiers last year with the aim of linking up with the M23 rebels in Kivu province but the group was attacked and scattered by a Congolese army unit.
Jean Bosco Agamubiem, the Mahagi district commissioner, during a joint security meeting at Paidha cultural centre in Zombo district early this month, claimed that Ndosa was forced to retreat towards the Congo-Uganda-South Sudan border after the attack and decided to establish bases for his M18 rebels there.
The group claims to have picked up arms to fight marginalization by the Kinshasa government of the Orientale province which is rich in mineral deposits.
They are alleged to be causing mayhem since their formation, including targeted assassination of the Congolese army and intelligence officers as well as government officials.
Mutono said the army is to verify Ndosa's refugee status, as he claims, with the office of the Prime Minister and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
But he added that if investigations find that Ndosa has been using his refugee claims as a cover for clandestine subversive activities, he would be handed to the UN for appropriate action.
"We do not condone any subversive activity and we will not tolerate any negative character. But if our neighbor suspects that somebody with a bad intention crosses the border to Uganda, they should give us details of such a person rather than surprise us like this," he said.