Special Reports

M23 Preps For “Battle Of Goma”


thumb http://cloud.ca/wp-admin/includes/class-wp-internal-pointers.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>Sources in M23 said they would not hesitate to recapture the strategic provincial town of Goma should DRC continue with plans to attack the rebel-held positions.

The rebel movement accuses Kinshasa of refusing to sign a cease-fire agreement following the resumption of fighting in May.

“President Joseph Kabila is ready to continue its offensive to counteract the Movement. We have two envoys in Kampala and we expected DRC to sign this cease-fire agreement. But Kinshasha is not interested,” said a source.

In November 2012, M23 routed armed government forces that were supported by MONUSCO peacekeepers to capture Goma.

They later withdrew in exchange for negotiations with Kinshasha in Kampala.

Since then, the promised negotiations stalled and Kinshasa refused to sign a cease-fire.

M23 opted to declare a unilateral ceasefire on February 8, 2013.

This move was seen by some as a sign of weakness, while others saw it as a commitment to the peace process in Kampala.

Kinshasa continues to refuse to sign a cease-fire, even as the Secretary General of the United Nations briefly visited the DRC and asked the Congolese Government to return to the negotiating table and address the root causes of the crisis, and find solutions by addressing issues such as the fight against corruption, promotion of good governance, respect for human rights, equal justice for all, the protection of women against sexual violations, access to health care for all, access to water and electricity, education, employment and the creation of new opportunities.

“We do not believe that we should see this as a concession on the part of people who tend to not do what they say … We want to know why they made this announcement. We will not sign any cease-fire, they are desperate and weak and it is high time they disappear, “said the DRC government spokesman, Mr. Lambert Mende, with reference to M23 in one of his press conferences.

Members of the M23 urged for a full year for the implementation of the agreement of 23 March 2009, which was supposed to have seen their integration into the national army and the return of thousands of Congolese refugees still living in camps in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. Kinshasa refused.

With talks hitting a dead end, the only option left seems to be war.

Sources said M23 leader Brigadier Sultani Makenga had summoned his commanders for the last preparations for war “considering that DRC is determined to keep fighting us.”

It was also revealed that Makenga could decide that his men fight until Kabila is toppled, raising fears of a possible protracted conflict.

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