The commander of the M23 insurgent group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has surrendered in Kampala, according to Ugandan officials quoted by Reuters. News of Sultani Makenga’s surrender emerged days after M23 renounced its 20-month rebellion after a decisive campaign by the Congolese military backed by U.N. peacekeepers. The group would henceforth rely solely on political means to further its goals.
Last month, a fortnight-long campaign by U.N. forces and the Congolese army cornered M23 fighters and drove them from their final bases in Tshanzu and Runyoni.
On Monday, the Southern African Development Community called on M23 to make a formal declaration denouncing the rebellion, and on the government of the DRC to accept this declaration and begin a peace process.
Mr. Makenga’s whereabouts are likely to be known once a formal peace agreement is signed. In the meantime, a spokesperson for the Ugandan army said about 1,500 M23 soldiers had laid down their arms.
Several other armed groups continue to operate in the conflict-prone, mineral-rich region.
M23 shot to prominence last year when it marched into Goma, a major commercial hub in eastern DRC, despite the deployment of well-equipped U.N. force that largely steered clear of engaging with the militia.