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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid