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

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa 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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid