M23 Rebels Set Terms for Disarmament

September 9, 2013 10:01 amComments Off on M23 Rebels Set Terms for Disarmament by:

Bunagana-The M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have set terms for disarmament.
The regional leaders who recently met in the Ugandan capital Kampla under the chairmanship of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni ordered the M23 rebels to stop fighting and called for their immediate disarmament.
But the M23 rebels have responded to the call by setting terms that they want the Kinshasha government to fulfill before they can lay down their weapons.
Speaking yesterday to the media at their heavily-guarded base in Bunagana, the M23 President Bertrand Bisiimwa said they are fighting for the return and resettlement of Congolese refugees in their respective communities.

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

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

Brigaider Sultani Makenga another senior M23 commander told the media that they are not interested in being integrated into the Congolese army.
“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.

The M23 also used the same press cconference to announce that they will send more M23 leaders to Kampala to strengthen Rene Abandi’s team which has been there since December 2012.
The regional leaders who recently met in Kampala made the following resolutions:
1. Strongly condemn the recent bombings in Munigi and Goma in DRC that have resulted in the death of a Senior UN officer attached to the Intervention Brigade, hundreds of civilians as well as the injury of UN military officers and civilians, and task the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) to undertake immediate investigations and provide the report thereof to the Committee of Ministers of Defence of the ICGLR as soon as possible;

2. Strongly condemn the recent bombings from DRC territory that have resulted in the deaths of civilians in the territory of Rwanda and direct the EJVM to complete the verification process and provide a report to the Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers of Defence as soon as possible;

3. Direct that the Kampala Dialogue resumes within 3 days after this Extra-ordinary Summit and conclude within a maximum period of 14 days during which maximum restraint must be exercised on the ground to allow for talks to conclude. The Chairman will keep in touch with his colleagues on the progress of the Dialogue;

4. M23 should put an end to all military activities, and stop war and threats of overthrowing the lawful Government of DRC;

5. Commit to continue exerting pressure together with our partners in particular the Intervention Brigade, on the M23 and all other Negative Forces in Eastern DRC to ensure they stop war;

6. Accept the request by MONUSCO to have permanent representation in the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM), and appeal to MONUSCO to provide logistical support to the EJVM to enable it to carry out its mandate effectively;

7. Direct the Committee of Ministers of Defence to develop guidelines for legal and diplomatic protection of officers of ICGLR Mechanisms in line with international standards and develop a code of conduct for officers serving in such stations;

8. Direct the Executive Secretary to fast track the release of the funds donated to the EJVM by the European Union through the African Union and commit to honour our financial obligations to the EJVM;

9. Express strong concern on the ongoing humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the recent fighting in eastern DRC and call on the international community to provide urgent humanitarian assistance including food, medicine, tents etc;

10. Request the United Nations System to urgently find a definitive solution to the former M23 combatants interned in eastern Rwanda since March 2013;

11. Accept the proposal by the SADC Summit held in Lilongwe on 17 -18 August 2013 on convening a joint SADC-ICGLR Summit on the Great Lakes Region and directed the ICGLR Executive Secretary to liaise with the SADC Executive Secretary to organise the Summit.
The leaders who met under the chairmanship of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda ordered that the M23 and the Congolese government resume peace talks in three days.
The talks are expected to resume today Monday.

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