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April 07, 2010

DRC Rebel Groups to Form Coalition

by Peter Clottey

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the leader of the Mai Mai Kifuafua rebels says a new rebel coalition comprising over 17 different armed groups will be unveiled in the eastern part of the country Friday.

Didier Bitaki said the various armed groups decided to join forces after President Joseph Kabila’s government failed to fully implement several peace accords.

“What the government did was only to facilitate the former armed groups to know each other. Unfortunately the government did not take advantage of that opportunity so that they will bring peace to our region. And we said we cannot allow that peace accord to fail while we are here, and that is why …we want to create something that will bring peace and maybe change our government,” he said.

Bitaki said the group, to be known as the Alliance for Maintaining the Peace Agreement of Goma, will ensure President Kabila’s administration lives up to the promises made when it signed peace accords with the various armed groups.

He said the rebel coalition includes Mai Mai Kifuafua, National Congress for People’s Defense (CNDP), Pareko and Mai Mai Yakutumba, among other rebel groups.

Analysts say the rebels felt cheated following President Kabila’s latest cabinet reshuffle which did not include members of the various armed groups it signed agreements with.

The rebel groups accused the government of failing to live up to the peace accords which called for leaders of the armed groups to be politically integrated into the government.

They had previously demanded four ministerial positions before President Kabila’s recent cabinet reshuffle.

Congo’s media recently quoted the prime minister’s office as saying there were no cabinet posts for the former rebels whose units have been integrated into the national army.

Bitaki said the new rebel coalition will put pressure on the government to abide by the various agreements it signed with rebel groups.

“This Friday we already decided together to bring peace by putting our efforts together on one movement and push the government to respect the accord,” Bitaki said.

He further said the rebels decided to bury their differences after coming to the realization that President Kabila’s government will continue to deceive them by refusing to abide by the peace accords.

DRC information minister Lambert Mende has often urged the rebels to focus on forming a legitimate political party to participate in elections just like all other political parties.