News / Africa

DRC Rebels Blame Government for Talks ‘Breakdown’

M23 rebel leader Bertrand Bisimwa (C) is seen in a March 7, 2013, file photo.
M23 rebel leader Bertrand Bisimwa (C) is seen in a March 7, 2013, file photo.
Peter Clottey
The leader of the rebel M23 group says the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) government is to blame for the breakdown of peace talks being held in neighboring Uganda.

The talks followed an agreement by leaders in the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to help end the violence in the eastern part of the DRC.

“The government of Kinshasa is not on the ground in Kampala, [their] officials went back to Kinshasa and we don’t know why. But our delegation is in Kampala and we are waiting for the government of Kinshasa to come, and we think that if they come we can continue with the talks,” said Bertrand Bisimwa, leader of the M23 rebels.

He says members of his group are frustrated with the DRC government’s lack of commitment to the talks.

Bisimwa says the M23 wants amnesty for all its fighters, but the government has yet to meet their demands.

“When the government of Kinshasa says that it can’t give amnesty to us, it means that it doesn’t want peace in the country,” continued Bisimwa. “If the government says it doesn’t want to implement a program of reconstruction of the eastern Congo, this is a big problem. If the government says it can’t integrate our forces into the national army, this is a big problem. We think that they will change their position if they want peace in our country.”

Bisimwa made his comments after the rebel group reduced its delegation at the peace talks in Uganda to just two people, but denied it has abandoned negotiations with the government.

The two sides have been talking to the Ugandan facilitator, but their meetings with him have recently decreased in frequency.

Bisimwa also denied his rebel group receives support from Uganda and Rwanda.

“When the government is not able to resolve problems [in] society they [point] to someone or some country to accuse [them] to be the causes of their incapacity to resolve the problem of the people; we are not surprised by this accusation,” said Bisimwa.

In March, the United Nations Security Council authorized a special “intervention brigade” to pursue armed groups in the eastern part of the DRC as part of its peacekeeping operation. The intervention brigade consists of more than 3,000 troops from Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi, operating as part of the U.N. mission MONUSCO, but with a stronger mandate to attack the rebels.

But Bisimwa says the government appeared disinterested in the peace talks after the United Nations announced the imminent arrival of the new intervention brigade.

“Even when we were talking in Kampala, they went to the United Nations to bring the brigade against us again.  It means that they don’t need peace in our country. They need only a victory [over] M23, not peace for our people,” he said.

Clottey interview with M23 rebel leader Bertrand Bisimwa
Clottey interview with M23 rebel leader Bertrand Bisimwai
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

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 VOA EXCLUSIVE: 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 countermeasure at UN 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.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
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 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 Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. 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