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M23 Rebels Threaten To Overthrow Kabila

Bishop_Runiga_while_addressing_the_press_in_Bunagana_on_July_11_875903048

visit prostate http://crmsoftwareblog.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/json-endpoints/class.wpcom-json-api-list-posts-endpoint.php geneva; font-size: small;”>Bishop Jean-Marie Runiga says the current fighting in Eastern Congo that has seen rebels pound and dislodge government forces from their positions before pushing the latter out of Goma, was a result of President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to honour terms of the March 23, 2009 agreement between CNDP (now M23) after the integration exercise.

He cites discrimination of his soldiers, poor pay and mistreatment.

Runiga, who is the M23 political leader, further states that despite calls for a ceasefire by regional leaders, Congo forces a few weeks ago week launched attacks on their positions in Rugari among other towns.

“Kabila had agreed with leaders from the Great Lakes countries who resolved on August 8 during a meeting in Kampala to find a political solution to the crisis. But the process was abused and denounced by Kinshasha which refused to negotiate with us thus choosing a military option,” notes Runiga.

BLAME GAME

“The current fighting between the armed forces of the regime of Kinshasa and Congolese Revolutionary Army Movement (also known as M23) is the consequence of Kinshasha’s belief that the military option is the only way to resolve the crisis.”

Runiga gives examples of a truce observed by M23 on September 17, 2012, on the request of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

He further states that despite being attacked a fortnight ago week, M23 exercised restraint to give chance to the Great Lakes leaders’ efforts to bring peace to the region.

The M23 president says on November 9, 2012, at a meeting of the Provincial Committee attended by the FARDC (DRC army) Chief of Staff of Land Forces General Amisi Kumba, the Governor of

North Kivu, Julien Paluku Kahomgya, acting on behalf of Kinshasa government, gave an ultimatum of 14 days to M23 to “disarm and go to the centers’ rehabilitation.”

On the same night, says Runiga, the military regime in Kinshasa launched simultaneous attacks on its positions from Mabenga to Kinyandoni and Kitagoma in the territory of Rutshuru, killing 10 people and injuring scores.

In response, according to Runiga, the M23 warned the Kinshasa regime and threatened to respond if attacks were not halted.

However, adds Runiga, on November 12, 2012, the Governor of North Kivu announced at a press conference held at his home that all senior leaders of M23 would soon be arrested.

It was not until the nights of November 14 to 15, that movement of tanks, combat armored vehicles and other heavy equipment by government forces crossed the city of Goma to the position on the front line of Kibumba from where they attacked rebel units in Rugari, says Runiga.

That’s when M23 were ordered to attack, defend and repel the offensive plan to ensure full protection of civilians living in areas controlled by the movement.

Runiga says his men successfully contained offensives from DRC before stopping at the gates of Goma to “enable a peaceful solution to the current situation” and consider “international community concerns.”

Chimp Corps say the United Nations has since called for a ceasefire on the part of M23.

Demands

In a statement issued on Monday, Runiga demands an “immediate cessation of the ongoing military offensive” conducted by Government forces on Gomakibati, Tongo-Kalengera, Busendo-Mabenga, Ngwendakatwiguru Kiseguru-Kinyandonyi and Kitagoma where our “forces are battling the coalition forces.”

Runiga accuses DRC of allying with Rwanda rebel group FDLR and other militia to destabilize the region.

He also wants “total demilitarization” of the city and the airport of Goma in a period not exceeding 24 hours and protection of civilians by peacekeeping forces MONUSCO present in the city.

They also want the “opening within 48 hours of the border of Bunagana to enable the population living in areas under our control to access social services such as health care, education and procurement of in basic needs.”

M23 have also demanded a “formal statement” on public radios and national television by the Government of Kinshasa, within a period not exceeding 24 hours, announcing the opening of direct political negotiations with the rebels.

In his conclusive remarks, Runiga says non-compliance to these terms automatically gives M23 a “right to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and continue resistance against the government Kinshasa until it falls.”

This is the first time the rebels are mulling attacking Kinshasha to topple President Joseph Kabila.

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