Special Reports

M23 Set Terms For Disarmament

there http://city-zen.info/components/com_k2/templates/agences/category.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>Addressing the media at their heavily-guarded base in Bunagana on Sunday, http://cprocom.com/portal/components/com_docman/docman.php M23 President Bertrand Bisiimwa said “we are fighting for the return and resettlement of Congolese refugees in their respective communities.”

M23 blames the DRC for discriminating the Tutsi and falling short of providing enough security to protect them from the FDLR attacks.

“The FDLR problem must be solved because they commit serious crimes such as human rights abuses, looting and even rape on our soil,” charged Bisiimwa.


Bisiimwa further said his combatants would be willing to lay down their weapons if the FDLR, a militia whose ideology is to exterminate the Tutsi race, is contained and stopped from carrying out more atrocities in the Kivu Province.


This implies that DRC would have to persuade the UN Force Intervention Brigade to dismantle the FDLR to pave way for the return of Congolese Tutsis.


However, this may not happen considering that the allied forces of DRC, Tanzania and South Africa are relying on the Rwandan Hutu militia in their ground attacks on M23 territory.


And should the FDLR continue posing a threat to the Congolese Tutsi, the M23 will not give in their arms.


Asked by a journalist whether the M23 were willing to be reintegrated in the DRC mainstream army known by the acronym, FARDC, the Movement’s leader, Brig Sultani Makenga said “we are not fighting to be reintegrated.”


“I was in the FARDC, where I occupied a very important position and I was offered so many more than that, but I ended up leaving, why incorporate now? We’re not fighting for reintegration,” said Makenga.


Interestingly, in their proposed draft agreement to the facilitator of the peace talks, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, M23 suggest that they are ready to rejoin FARDC as long as their military ranks are retained.

The shift in M23’s narrative could be aimed at focusing attention on two things: the disbandment of FDLR and return of Congolese Tutsi refugees to their country.

The regional leaders’ Summit held in Kampala last week resolved that M23 and DRC return to peace talks with the view of signing a peace agreement within two weeks.

Bisiimwa said more M23 leaders would be dispatched to Kampala to reinforce Rene Abandi’s team which has been in the city since December 2012.

The delegation composed of eight people immediately left the press briefing to take the road to Kampala where the agreement is expected to be signed.

Asked to explain M23’s decision to pull out of Kanyarucinya during recent heavy clashes with the allied forces, Bisiimwa said the move was meant to pave way for the commission of inquiry in investigating the origin of the bombs that fell in cities of Goma and Gisenyi in the recent clashes between the FARDC and the M23.

“As of now, the DRC government is yet to allow in the investigators. They are being blocked,” he added.

The second objective of pulling troops from the Kanyarucinya battlefield, according to the President of the M23, was to facilitate peace.

“All we want is peace for the region. We want nothing but peace for our people,” said Bisiimwa.

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