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

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL 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.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid