M23: Makenga Ready For Disarmament


decease geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>By Wednesday morning, more about Makenga was reported in Virunga Mountains where he is stationed with his closest associates Vianney Kazarama, mind Col Kaina and Mboneza among other field commanders.

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The rebel Movement on Tuesday announced that it had decided “from this day to put an end to this rebellion” and to only use “purely political means” the search for solutions to the root causes that led to its creation.

M23 President, Bertrand Bisiimwa said the Chief of General Staff (Maeknga) and the commanders of all major units of the Movement are “requested to prepare their troops for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration whose terms are to be agreed with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

M23 publicist, Amani Kabasha said Makenga decided not to fight a joint force comprising troops from Tanzania, South Africa, France and elements from Mai Mai and MONUSCO to avoid the escalation of the humanitarian crisis in the restive eastern region.

It remains unclear if Makenga will surrender to DRC authorities considering that he faces charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

However, the M23 military commander’s fate is likely to be decided by the peace agreement which will be signed before the end of this week between DRC and M23 representatives in Kampala.

Bisiimwa said the end of the rebellion would possibly lead to peace in DRC.

“Let’s test this: Maybe the M23 to be aside will give to our people and our country more security, peace and development,” he said, adding, “The DRC without M23 has to deal with security issues (FDLR, FNL, ADF-NALU), return of refugees, national reconciliation, and development of Eastern DRC.”

Last year, M23 waged war against President Joseph Kabila’s government over discrimination, corruption and human rights abuses in the army; rigging of presidential elections, failure to return Congolese refugees from foreign countries and lack of social services in Kivu among others.

FDLR Threat

Meanwhile, latest reports indicate that FDLR, a militia group responsible for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda has been mulling plans to attack Rwanda.

FDLR was reportedly used by DRC forces and its allied forces in the ground offensive against M23 strongholds. Some of its members are reportedly stationed in Bunagana.

Special Representative of the Secretary General to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Head of the United Nations Mission to the DRC (MONUSCO), Martin Kobler, on Tuesday night urged “all other armed groups, including the FDLR, not to take advantage of the fragile security situation. MONUSCO will act decisively on all attempts to exploit the situation.”

FDLR strength is estimated at 1,000 fighters.

Rwanda recently deployed soldiers and tanks at its border with Congo in preparation for such an eventuality.


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