News / Africa

Congo Government: M23 Ceasefire Offer Not Enough

Congolese armed forces (FARDC) soldiers ride on their pick-up truck as they advance to a new position while battling M23 rebels in Kibati near Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept. 2, 2013.Congolese armed forces (FARDC) soldiers ride on their pick-up truck as they advance to a new position while battling M23 rebels in Kibati near Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept. 2, 2013.
x
Congolese armed forces (FARDC) soldiers ride on their pick-up truck as they advance to a new position while battling M23 rebels in Kibati near Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept. 2, 2013.
Congolese armed forces (FARDC) soldiers ride on their pick-up truck as they advance to a new position while battling M23 rebels in Kibati near Goma, in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept. 2, 2013.
James Butty
The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo said the unilateral ceasefire announced Sunday by the rebel group M23 does not go far enough.

M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa has called on his fighters to lay down their arms and give the peace process, which stalled recently in Kampala, a chance.  

Bisimwa said the Congolese army, known as the FARDC, must stop its advance in the current offensive and also return to the peace talks.  

He said the rebels cannot disarm without a resolution to the concerns for which it began fighting.  

But Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende said the M23 must end its rebellion and present its fighters to the commission created in Kampala to demobilize them and return them to civilian life.

“It is not a matter of ceasefire.  What we have convened in Kampala, witnessed by the facilitator, as well as the special envoy of the international community, are three things: one, the M23 must announce clearly, not a ceasefire, but the end of the armed rebellion they launched 20 months ago. Secondly, M23 must immediately put all its fighters at the disposal of the commission that was set up in Kampala to demobilize them, to disarm them, and help them to be back to civilian life,” he said.

Mende said the M23 must also agree to respect what he calls the “human rights and physical integrity” of our compatriots near Chanzu.

He said the Congolese government does not want another ceasefire from the M23 because it believes its army, the FARDC, could have defeated the rebels in the next three or four days.

Mende said, instead of humiliating the M23, the Congo government agreed to having the rebels commit themselves to a complete disarmament.

“We are somehow surprised to see that in their statement they are not talking about what had been convened on that issue. They should try to do what they said they were going to do, and we are giving them enough time now,” Mende said.

He said it is the decision of the international community and the Congolese government that the M23 must cease to exist as an armed group and transform itself into a political structure.

Mende said, until the most recent clashes, the M23 was the main threat to peace in eastern Congo and the whole Great Lakes region.  He said the government decided to first wipe out the M23 before going after other rebel groups.

“We have other Congolese armed groups.  They have to be destroyed, all of them.  But, we decided to start with the most dangerous, that was M23. As soon as we finish them, as soon as they accept to disarm, to demobilize, to become a political group, we shall deal with FDLR, ADF-NALU and others.  That is the program of the DRC and allies from the international community,” Mende said.

Bisimwa said his group will disarm after they sign an agreement with the Congolese government addressing the concerns for which the group began its rebellion.

“The problem of disarming ourselves will be done after we sign the agreement, and now we are negotiating that agreement.  We can’t disarm ourselves without an agreement because we have to know what will happen to the problems which are the causes of the existence of movement,” he said.

He said the M23 launched its rebellion more than a year ago to, among other things, provide security for the people of eastern Congo.

“As you know, in the eastern part of Congo, there are many, many foreign groups who are killing and raping and we can’t continue to accept this. Secondly, you know we have many refugees outside in Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, and in Tanzania.  We want those Congolese to be accepted as citizens of this country,” he said.

Bisimwa also said the people of eastern Congo have suffered for so long, and the M23 wants to give them an opportunity find jobs, build hospitals, roads, and schools.

The M23 had said it wanted its fighters to be granted amnesty.  But, the Congolese government says it does not give amnesty to people who indiscriminately kill innocent civilians.
Butty interview with M23 leader Bisimwa
Butty interview with M23 leader Bisimwai
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

Bisimwa said the M23 is not involved in the killing of innocent people.  He accused the Congolese government engaging in propaganda against the M23.

“We agree with the government of Kinshasa that we cannot give amnesty to people who kill other people.  But, what about us?  We didn’t kill anybody.  And, you know, the government of Kinshasa used propaganda to show that the M23 doesn’t have any plan,” Bisimwa said.
Butty interview with Lambert Mende
Butty interview with Lambert Mendei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Benjamin Likute Bauma from: South Africa
November 04, 2013 6:26 AM
M23 which the new name of CNDD his the creation or a product of Rwandese president Paul Kagame. It is a secret known by all that the so - called rebellion is in fact a group made Rwandese soldiers used by Kagame to plunder congolese minerals in the east Congo. Rwanda is using this opportunity to transplant his people to Congo by claiming that they are congolese refugees of tutsi origine.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid