M23 Warns DRC Army on Killing Demobilised Fighters

The demobilised M23 Movement has expressed alarm at what it described as a “massacre” of its former members at Kamina in Eastern Congo, for sale calling for an in-depth inquiry into the killings.

“On Wednesday, illness June 15th, click 2016, in Kamina demobilization transit centre, the disarmed and demobilized M23 ex-combatants cantoned there were killed by members of the DRC Armed Forces (FARD) responsible for their security,” the movement’s political leader, Bertrand Bisiimwa, told ChimpReports on Monday.

The provisional death toll released by the civil society reported more than 27 and dozens wounded.

“The same source indicates the only mistake made by the demobilized combatants which cost their lives was simply the request of their social reintegration which they have been anxiously waiting for about three years,” added Bisiimwa.

ChimpReports understands the former M23 fighters were gunned down as they protested the poor living conditions at the camp, an incident M23 leaders said they would not tolerate.

“Our Movement, the M23, is dismayed, distressed and frustrated by these repetitive massacres of ex-combatants and condemns in the strongest terms what appears to be a less responsible attitude of the Kinshasa Government in the management of this important step to restore peace in Eastern Congo,” said Bisiimwa.

The rebel movement laid down its weapons in Uganda and Rwanda following peace talks brokered by President Museveni.

The peace deal was signed between DRC and M23 officials in Nairobi in 2013.

It was agreed that DRC would facilitate the peaceful reintegration of M23 members in society.

However, M23 leaders say many of its demobilised fighters have been tortured and killed by the DRC security forces.

“Between December 2013 and September 2014, more than 100 people including ex combatants, their wives and children were killed as a result of the lack of food and the poor living conditions in Kotakoli demobilization centre,” said Bisiimwa.

Over 182 M23 ex-combatants were repatriated from Bihanga barracks in western Uganda to Kamina demobilization transit centre in 2014.

Bisiimwa also hinted on a meeting with a delegation of the Congolese Government in Kampala, led by the former Minister of National Defence, Veterans Affairs and reintegration, Ngoy Mukena, where M23 were informed that among their ex combatants cantoned at Kamina, some were dead and others had ran mad.

The new defence minister Crispin Atama on October 25, 2015 visited Kamina camp where he requested that the six hundred ex-combatants who had settled in Lukulwe to return to the demobilization centre with the promise of accelerating the demobilization process.

Bisiimwa said 8 months later, the Minister has not delivered.


He revealed that on February 24, 2016, 25 ex-combatants were massacred by FARDC soldiers at Kitona demobilization centre after they made the discovery in the bush of the lifeless body of their missing colleague.

Observers say the unfolding events point to the growing frustration of the once cohesive military force in the region.

The M23 forces captured the provincial town of Goma where it stayed for several days before quitting under intense international pressure.

The rebels accused the government of President Joseph Kabila of human rights abuses, killing its fighters (formerly under CNDP), segregation and failure to deliver public services in the batter part of Eastern Congo.

The M23 chairman expressed his disappointment over “repetitive serious fatal incidents, the inability of the Government to achieve its own programmes and the poor conditions of life maintained in the demobilization centres which have transformed these places into real jails or open-air prison where the dead are up to hundreds.”

He insisted that “government has learned nothing from the previous dramatic situations in order to take appropriate measures to preserve human lives in various demobilization centres. It continues to demonstrate a gross negligence leading to people’s death.”

“The M23 Directorate finds unsurprising the failure of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme. Caught in the triumphalist euphoria that led to its establishment, this Government program whose purpose is the deportation of ex-combatants and their families, appears more like a driving punitive expedition against ex-combatants rather than a coherent educational approach which would facilitate their social reintegration.”

The M23 Directorate, said Bisiimwa, wishes to be associated with the conception, development and the implementation of a new program of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration more realistic, effective, flexible and attractive likely to produce results in record time,

He also called for the establishment of an “inquiry commission including our delegates in order to shed light on the massacres of ex-combatants in the demobilization centers of Kitona and Kamina as well as their conditions of life in these two sites.”

Bisiimwa concluded: “These prerequisites are essential elements that will facilitate the subscription to this program by M23 ex-combatants currently cantoned in Rwanda and Uganda.”


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