EXCLUSIVE: M23 Write To Ban Ki-moon

patient geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 115%;”>In a letter dated July 19, buy which Chimpreports has seen, the rebels say the latest escalation of clashes with the Congolese army known by the French acronym, FARDC, “was not caused by our Movement as we have no interest at all in this meaningless violence.”

“I am writing to condemn in the strongest terms the resumption of fighting in Eastern DRC despite the ongoing peace process in Kampala. We continue to hope that our claims and grievances can be properly addressed through a political process,” said M23 President Bertrand Bisiimwa.

He further said “this new situation has, once again, exposed the barbarism of FARDC units, a small portion of which was exposed in a series of pictures taken by a media reporter in Goma. The latest wave of systematic executions took place between July 14 to July 17 2013.”

Bisiimwa said the crimes committed by FARDC included extreme torture of individuals falsely presented as prisoners of war, including maiming, beating to death and deliberate starving; desecration through the most despicable acts; arbitrary arrests, detention based on ethnicity and public incitation to ethnic hatred.

Others, according to the M23 leader, include use of human shields within ostensible war zones where no civilian should be allowed to stay and forced conscription of unemployed, desperate and drug addicts plus children.

Photos of FARDC soldiers torturing detainees leaked to Chimpreports last week, sparking off worldwide condemnation at the gross abuse of human rights by the DRC government.

While DRC said it would investigate the reports of torture and take appropriate action, United Nations said it would review its support of FARDC in the wake of the scandal.

Bisiimwa said “some of these shameful acts are being conducted in open places and witnessed by the population, national and international media and MONUSCO.”

The M23 waged war against President Joseph Kabila’s government in April 2012, accusing him of rigging the presidential elections, discrimination and human rights abuses in the army.

The rebels later captured the Provincial town of Goma before pulling out in response to international condemnation and persuasion by regional leaders under their umbrella organization, ICGLR.

The peace talks which opened in Kampala to find a political and homegrown solution to the conflicts in the Eastern part of the country hit a dead end after the DRC representatives flew back to Kinshasha.

UPDF spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda recently said there was hope that the two antagonistic camps would bury the hatchet and sign the pace agreement.

However, from the look of things, a peaceful resolution to the conflict could be in the distant future as guns continue to roar near Goma.

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