News / Africa

DRC Hopeful of M23 Rebels’ Extradition

Congo Rebels accuses the Congolese government of refusing to negotiate at recently-reconvened peace talks, (File photo).
Congo Rebels accuses the Congolese government of refusing to negotiate at recently-reconvened peace talks, (File photo).
Peter Clottey
The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s information minister says the government in Kinshasa enjoys good relations with Rwanda in spite of the diplomatic challenges between the two neighboring countries.

Lambert Mende says Kigali has assured the DRC as well as the international community of cooperation after his government issued international warrants for four former leaders of the M23 rebel group believed to be in Rwanda.

“They were already wanted here in DRC when they fought against the government in North Kivu. Since we learned from a communique from the Rwanda government that they were receiving asylum, we sent a warrant of arrest that was sent by diplomatic [channels] to our Rwanda government counterpart to have the four sent back here in Congo so that they [can appear] before the court,” said Mende.

The M23 leaders wanted for extradition include M23 Jean-Marie Runiga and military commanders Baudouin Ngaruye, Eric Badege and Innocent Zimurinda.  Kinshasa has accused them of committing crimes against humanity, war crimes, torture and other offenses.

Relations between the Central African neighbors have been strained by DRC accusations that Kigali has been supporting the rebels. Rwanda denies the charge.

Some analysts say Kigali might not enforce the DRC arrest warrants due to the diplomatic spat between the two countries. Mende acknowledged the tensions, but said Rwanda will extradite the M23 rebels due to a recently signed agreement between countries of the Great Lakes region – including Rwanda and the DRC -- in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  The signatories swore to eradicate rebel groups in North Kivu province.

“We received [a] statement from the Rwanda government [saying] they are going to cooperate,” said Mende.  “We also have a judiciary agreement with Rwanda. We have not yet received any response from them, but we are waiting with [heightened] interest …. because [it] reiterates its commitment to cooperate with the provision of the agreement. And we have no reason to doubt that they will act accordingly.”

Mende denies accusations that soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) attacked unarmed civilians following the latest clashes with the M23 rebels.

“Not a single bullet from FARDC targeted civilians in Rumangabo,” said Mende. “We targeted the headquarters of M23, where [rebel] elements were meeting with the Rwandese Defense Forces to plan and to launch an attack against our troops, and we destroyed their depot of ammunitions. While escaping from Rumangabo barracks, these M23 and Rwanda alliance fired on civilians.”
Clottey interview with Lambert Mende, DRC information minister
Clottey interview with Lambert Mende, DRC information minister i
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Comments
     
by: Mulumba Paul
July 30, 2013 12:43 PM
Shame on Rwanda for their involvement in bringing instability in the region. DRC instability will not benefit Rwanda and Ouganda. And Rwanda or Uganda will never be able to claim DRC territory as their own and rule them. These are some facts that Rwanda and Uganda should acknowledge and stop their strategic blunders in DRC.

In Response

by: Mulumba Paul
August 06, 2013 12:28 PM
TO BOBOTO from GOMA DRC: All the problems of the DRC do not give Rwanda or Uganda teh rights to invade part of Congo. Sure governance in DRC needs improvement. How about governance in YOUR country of Rwanda? Where is Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza that your leader Kagame has unlawfully imprisoned for so long? Is that good governance? Should DRC also invade Rwanda due to its issues?
Regarding rebels in Katanga, I will not be surprise outside forces are in mix in the rush to getting their part of Congo minerals. Regarding FDLR, why isnt your president Kagame negotiating with them as he recommend sthe DRC negotiate with the M23. The time for a blind support to the Rwanda lobby is over! Rwanda and its proxies the M23 cannot continue to loot, rape and murder indefinitely in the DRC. Kagame and Museveni strategic blunders in the great lakes region are coming to light. A free trade area in the region is probably the best answer to their needs of economic growth in the region. Arming rebel groups is not the answer. By the way DRC is not a jungle, otherwise the decent folks at the WorldBank will not invest $1 billion in in the DRC...Please stop your misinformation on the DRC!

In Response

by: BOBOTO from: GOMA DRC
July 31, 2013 2:32 AM
You still need information on the DRC realities. That country is characterized by a desorganization since several years.It's politicians have no leadership and patriotism. The Congolese misere is never their concern. Their concern is just getting money and enjoy their short term pleasure. Do never condemn Rwanda and Uganda for what is happening in that jungle DRC, are the rebels harassing KATANGA trained in any neighboring country?

Are FDLR who are only standing for abuses including the sexual atrocity done against ladies and young girls supported by RWANDA and UGANDA? Do you know why the FDLR are protect in DRC despite the atrocities they are committing? It is because they are the best buyers of the weapons from UN Peace keeping force against the precious minerals. No secret under the sun.


by: emmanuel from: Kenya
July 29, 2013 12:12 PM
This really is politic! How can Mende say that Congo is in good relationship with Rwanda while recognizing that Rwanda Defence Force is supporting M23? How Rwanda can arrest those soldiers whilist it is preparing an attack against Goma? Let us wait and see. But I know that Kagame, he will remain stuborn untill... Let's wait and see.

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