News / Africa

Congo and M23 Rebels Sign Peace Deal

FILE - People jog past a sign with a message by the M23 rebel movement in their campaign against rampant corruption in Rutshuru town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Nov. 3, 2012.
FILE - People jog past a sign with a message by the M23 rebel movement in their campaign against rampant corruption in Rutshuru town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Nov. 3, 2012.
Reuters
The Congolese government signed a peace deal on Thursday with the M23 rebels it had been fighting until they laid down their arms last month, ending weeks of wrangling over the terms of an agreement.
 
The deal apparently concludes the most serious rebellion in Congo in a decade but analysts say the region remains fragile, not least because the agreement does not address the status of other armed groups.
 
M23 is the latest incarnation of the Tutsi-led insurgents who have battled Congo's government in its mineral-rich eastern region since 1996, in an evolving conflict that has caused the deaths of millions from violence, hunger and disease.
 
“Today the DRC (Congo) government and M23 have respectively signed declarations reflecting the consensus reached during the Kampala Dialog on steps necessary to end the armed activities of the M23,” said a joint communique.
 
Two declarations were signed which together comprise 11 points agreed on by the parties, said the communique, signed by President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and President Joyce Banda of Malawi.
 
These include a decision by the M23 to end the rebellion and transform itself into a political party, an amnesty to M23 members only for acts of war or insurgency and the demobilization of former M23 members.
 
It included agreement on the release of those held by Congo for war or rebellion and called for the return of those displaced by fighting. It also called for the formation of a committee to handle property and land that was confiscated, stolen or destroyed.
 
No blanket amnesty
 
“The document is very clear: there is no blanket amnesty. Those who are presumed to have committed criminal behavior in terms of international law, war crimes or crimes against humanity will not be reinserted into society,” said Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende.
 
“There will be justice, and no blind amnesty. Whether justice is done here in Congo or in the Hague, it does not matter,” he said, adding that the deal was signed at State House in Nairobi.
 
There was no immediate comment from former M23 rebels.
 
“We have been conducting some talks to try to conclude the dialog between the two parties (M23 and Kinshasa) and I am informed this evening the final document was signed in Nairobi,” James Mugume, Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary.
 
U.N. experts have accused Uganda and Rwanda of backing the rebels during the uprising. Both countries deny the charge.
 
Last November, M23 rebels occupied Goma, a town of a million people and the capital of North Kivu province on the border with Rwanda. They withdrew under intense diplomatic pressure that led to the opening of talks in Uganda.
 
However, the fall of Goma led to a revamping of Congo's army and the strengthening of the U.N. force and its mandate in Congo.
 
When peace talks faltered, rebels were driven from all the remaining towns they occupied in a process that ended in November.
 
Kinshasa and the rebels failed to seal a deal last month after a dispute over what it should be called. The rebels were ready to sign a peace agreement but Congo's negotiators wanted to call it a declaration, reflecting the rebels' defeat.
 
The difficulty of concluding a deal highlighted deep-rooted regional tensions after the fighting.
 
Thursday's communique signaled the end of peace talks held under the auspices of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Southern African Development Community region.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mwendaiye Mugyaila from: Dar es Salaam
December 13, 2013 3:13 PM
Avoid integrating the M23 rebels into the DRC army lest they find easy entry to topple the govt. The rebels should face justice in The Hague's ICC. Then Kagame and Museveni can absorb them into their own armies where they can do no harm.

by: Anonymous
December 13, 2013 2:46 PM
That looks more like a declaration by Museveni & rebels that they will stop fanning rebellion in the region with hus buddy Kagame. Kabila was wise to stay away from that fuss, Kagame ignored it. Just a political maneuvering on the part of Museveni to save face and please the masters that give him some regional assignments. Nothing more than that really. The M23 were flushed out and the so called peace talks because null and void at that time. This is hopefully a surrender and disbandment signing event to acknowledge defeats and accept responsibility of the regional mayhem the M23 and buddies have wrecked on DRC for decades.

by: Paul Bandunga from: Goma
December 13, 2013 10:38 AM
This is good to play the game of diplomacy. In the real world Congo still needs a professional and strong army and monitor borders with Uganda and Rwanda. And please no reintegration of criminals and Uganda and Rwanda proxies in Congo Army. Let's parliament in Kinshasa handle integration of non criminals though a clear and transparent process and those suspected of crimes should face the law. The cycle of Rwanda/Uganda armed groups impunity in Congo should stop. Also it is a good thing this was signed in Kenya, a neutral country and not a country currently holding M23 fighters. Good job to Kabila and his government for handling this tactfully.

by: dominique from: kenya
December 13, 2013 7:50 AM
The DRC goverment should not be inept, and stupid to be fooled by president Museveni to integrate war criminals to goverment. What is the different between LRA and M23?

by: Ann Garrison from: Oakland
December 12, 2013 6:00 PM
Could you please include links to copies of the documents actually signed by representatives of DRC and M23?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs