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Kinshasa Government Frowns on Blackmail, Says Congo Minister


An official of the Democratic Republic of Congo government is warning various armed groups that the administration will not kowtow to blackmail.

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Communications Minister Lambert Mende said the government is also determined to ensure the safety of Congolese.

This comes after a rebel group suspended participation in the 2008 Goma peace process and threatened to take up arms.

The rebel group accused President Joseph Kabila's government of failing fully to implement the agreement despite repeated promises.

Concerned citizens of restive Kivu province express worry the rebel threat will undermine the newly reached peace.

Minister Mende said that government troops are ready to quell any rebel insurgency.

"They have been given two alternatives: either joining the army, or being re-inserted socially. I think that they feel that they can't follow the rules of the army and they are pulling out from that way of solving their problems," Mende said.

He said the government is hopeful that deserting rebels would abide by the Goma agreement.

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"We hope that they will go to the other way that the government is giving them. This is the way of re-inserting professionally and socially," he said.

Mende said the rebels will not shake Kinshasa's resolve.

"They can do whatever they think is okay for them. But we will not accept them to blackmail the state like taking again guns against the state. If they do so, they will meet appropriate reaction from the security personnel," Mende said.

He denied the government abdicated its responsibilities in the peace agreement.

"We have 25 Mai Mai groups. If one group among 25 groups says so, do you think that he is the representative of the Mai Mai? This is a small group among groups who have joined the peace agreement and they are implementing the peace agreement with our army commanders," he said.

Mende said there is a new wind of change blowing in the Congo.

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"Maybe they (rebel groups) are not well aware of the situation because they think that the situation has not changed. They think that Congo is living under the threat from some neighboring countries that was giving the opportunity to some compatriots to blackmail the Democratic Republic of Congo. Things have changed," Mende said.

He said the rebels don't pose any threat to the administration.

"First of all, we don't consider what you consider threats as a threat. We consider just Congolese people exerting their rights and speaking freely. We have not heard that somebody has taken guns, so it is something we can bear," he said.

Mende also denied the newly found peace in the Kivu provinces is under any existential threat from rebel insurgency.

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