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Makenga Surrenders At Mgahinga Park

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ask http://danmarknorge.org/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/json-endpoints/class.wpcom-json-api-taxonomy-endpoint.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The development comes after the M23 political leadership renounced rebellion in a bid to expedite the peace talks in Kampala aimed at finding a long lasting and homegrown political solution to the humanitarian crisis in Kivu.

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A high ranking army officer told Chimpreports that Makenga crossed to Uganda on Wednesday through Kisoro-Mgahinga.

“Makenga is being held at a military facility as we wait for the outcome of the peace talks in Kampala,” said the source.

The M23 rebel group 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 later directed the Chief of General Staff and the commanders of all major units of the Movement to prepare their troops for disarmament, demobilization and reintegration whose terms are to be agreed with the government of DRC.

The source told this website that Makenga led 1,500 soldiers to Mgahinga National Park where they laid down their arms.

It remains unclear if this group included the Movement’s senior commanders, Vianney Kazarama, Col Kaina and Mboneza.

Makenga last week fled to Virunga Mountains after the allied forces of DRC, Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi used warplanes and heavy artillery to bombard his bases in Rumangabo and Bunagana.

Dozens of rebels were killed in the latest escalation of fighting.

M23 publicist, Amani Kabasha said Makenga decided not to fight the joint force to avoid the escalation of the humanitarian crisis in the restive eastern region.

War crimes

DRC and the international community insist Makenga must face 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.

Russell D. Feingold, Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo told reports in a teleconference in Washington on Wednesday that amnesty law being drafted by DRC authorities will not provide amnesty for war crimes or crimes against humanity for people who have committed those crimes.

“It will only – if this agreement goes through the way I hope it will and believe it will – it will only provide amnesty for the – sort of the rank-and-file members of M23 for purposes of having been part of a rebellion,” said Feingold.

He added: “In other words, they’re forgiven for having started or been involved in a rebellion as long as they pledge individually to not rebel again. And if they do rebel again or participate in rebellion, they lose their amnesty, but no amnesty for the type of people who have committed crimes against humanity and international crime.”

Feingold, who has been participating in the Kampala peace talks, said there was a major distinction “between this and the 2009 agreement, actually the March 23 – M23 agreement in 2009 that did give that kind of amnesty to people who committed major crimes.

In fact, they allowed them to come back into the Congolese military. That is not happening in this case if this agreement goes through the way I believe it will go through, and certainly, the international community and the United States would not support such an agreement. I also believe that the Congolese Government would never sign such an agreement this time.”

Makenga was a soldier in the Ugandan army before participating in several battles in Rwanda against elements loyal to the genocidal ideology of President Juvenal Habyarimana.

He later moved to DRC where he fought under Gen Laurent Nkunda to protect the Congolese of Tutsi origin from the FDLR militia.

In the 2009 peace agreement between Gen Nkunda’s CNDP and President Joseph Kabila’s government, Makenga was among several soldiers integrated in the army.

He broke ranks in 2012, protesting Kinshasha’s failure to return Congolese refugees in foreign countries, corruption and discrimination in the army, human rights abuses and lack of social services in Kivu.

Makenga later seized Goma until Uganda and Rwanda were pressured by the international community to convince Makenga to vacate the Provincial town in return for peace talks with the DRC government.

A section of M23 fighters opposed the move, leading to a ‘rebellion within a rebellion’, which saw hundreds of fighters killed and others pushed to Rwanda.

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