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FARDC soldiers flee to Uganda as M23 capture Bunagana border

FARDC soldiers at Bunagana police station in Bunagana town council. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | M23 rebels have captured Bunagana border on the side of the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC, forcing over 150 government soldiers to flee into Uganda. The FARDC soldiers have surrendered to Ugandan authorities at Bunagana border.

This follows renewed fighting near Bunagana border in Rutshuru territory, which started on Friday. A Ugandan security source at the border says that the soldiers fled into Uganda following non-stop fighting on Sunday during day and night. The FARDC soldiers who were manning the border abandoned tanks and other kinds of weapons as they fled to Uganda.

While at the border, they handed over all the guns to Ugandan security and were escorted to the nearby Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) barracks in Kabaya, Bunagana. The development has increased tension among Congolese civilians.

Many Congolese nationals are crossing into Uganda because of the heavy gunfire that can be heard at the Bunagana border. Uganda has also tightened security at its borders with the heavy presence of heavily armed UPDF soldiers and police personnel.

Hajji Shafique Ssekandi Ssengoba, the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner says that more than 30,000 civilians have crossed into Uganda.

Asked about the FARDC soldiers who have fled to Uganda, Ssekandi said that he was yet to receive a brief from the security agencies at the border.

By the time of filing this story, M23 rebels at Bunagana border were seen firing bullets in the air as a sign of victory. Bunagana border is the main connection between Uganda-Rutshuru and Goma towns in Rutshuru territory.  The Congolese government is yet to make a statement about the matter.

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