Democratic Republic of Congo residents
of the restive North Kivu province are criticizing President Joseph Kabila's
government after a scheduled integration of rebels into the national army
failed Wednesday. The failure cast
doubt on whether a recent hasty change in alliances that spurred hopes for
peace can hold. President Kabila's government had arranged for former rebels
loyal to renegade army General Laurent Nkunda to be integrated into the
national army after recently signing a peace agreement with the government. But
the rebels reportedly began leaving the scheduled area for the integration
exercise and accused the government of poor planning. Jack Kahora, who was at the integration site, told
reporter Peter Clottey the rebels were not too happy about the failure of the
fact the integration which should have taken place yesterday morning was not
organized anymore. In Goma, all the authorities and the different delegations,
which should take part in this mission waited since the morning to 12 0'clock,
and it was only around noon that the people were told that there would be no
more ceremony," Kahora pointed out.
said the rebels refused to be part of Wednesday's integration exercise after it
accused the government of not heeding their call for a joint commission to
smoothen the process of the exercise.
to what we heard, the CNDP (National Congress for the Defense of the People) refused to attend the integration
process simply because according to their statement which they made on the 16th
January 2009, which suggested that the joint commission organized between the
national army and the rebels so that they can both define the way the
integration should be organized. But instead of making the joint commission,
the government was in a hurry to cause the CNDP to join the integration before
the commission is constituted," He said.
said the rebels were right in accusing the government of poor planning leading
to Wednesday's failure to integrate the rebels into the national army.
is quite normal because since even the settlement of the rebels was made even
any Congolese here were surprised because the process was going to quickly that
people do no longer trust the process. Imagine after the rebels made a
statement a day after it's another group of rebels who also signed another
settlement. And the day after we could see Rwandan forces come into DRC and any
Congolese who saw those troops coming didn't understand what was exactly
happening. And today we could see so many troops and things were moving too
quickly and has made people not to trust what is going on the ground. They
think there is a hidden agenda clouded like a peace in the northern part of
Congo," Kahora noted.
said there is need for both the government and the rebels to hold negotiations
ahead of an integration of the rebels into the national army.
fact what is expected now is that they have to sit down, I mean the
governmental forces or representatives of the government of Congo and the
rebels and come up with a joint commission. They also have to agree on some
principles on how the integration should be organized and also agree on the
role of the commanders as well as the roles of the rebels. After they agree on
these principles then they can come up with a plan on what next to do. But I do
know that the rebels are not ready to join the national army before a joint
commission is established and the principles agreed on these issues," he said.
As part of the deal with
President Kabila's government, rebels of a splinter National Congress for
the Defense of the People (CNDP) faction led by Bosco
Ntaganda said they would operate under army command and eventually integrate
into army ranks. They also gave back to the national army territory they
Meanwhile by early afternoon Wednesday over a hundred
rebels from the Tutsi National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP)
who turned up had boarded trucks and left the scheduled Rumangabo military camp
in North Kivu.