Former Combatants in the Democratic
Republic of Congo are threatening to take up arms after accusing Kinshasa of
failing to pay them for the last two months. In a meeting with the deputy
governor of the restive North Kivu province, the former combatants accused the
government of abdicating its responsibility as stipulated in the recently
signed agreement by refusing to pay them. Under the agreement, Kinshasa is
expected to integrate the former rebels into the national army as well as grant
them amnesty from prosecution. Didier Bitaki is a leading member of the Mai Mai
He told VOA that the former combatants are upset about Kinshasa's
refusal to keep its side of the agreement.
former rebel commanders are not happy because there are some points, the
regulation of the problem of their ranks and the reintegration has not taken
place yet… so because of that they are not happy," Bitaki said.
said representatives of other armed groups are holding peace talks on how to
tackle the grievances of former armed combatants.
are still discussing with the government to know what the government has to do
in accordance with the agreement we signed in Goma," he said.
said the former rebels have a course to complain about the treatment meted to
them by the government.
know the government cannot be able to satisfy all of the demands made by the
armed groups. What I can say that really there is no satisfaction... but we
cannot get the solution immediately for their (commanders of former rebels)
reintegration. And that is the reason why we are in Kinshasa now," Bitaki said.
said representatives of some armed groups will continue their discussions with
Kinshasa today after a short break.
now we have started the discussion today and I think tomorrow we will have the
same point with the agenda with our meeting with the authority. Especially, the
cooperation and the international relations so that we can find a solution to
what they (former rebels) are claiming," he said.
said it is up to Kinshasa to come up with solutions to meet the demands of the
question is sometimes complicated because we have no decision to what the
government can do. There is a government and we have already given our concerns
to the government and that the government has the responsibility to treat them
(former rebels) well," Bitaki said.
said there are indications the former armed combatants could take up arms again
and begin an insurgency.
the government does not treat them respectfully that would help a lot to the
government then I think they are free to take any decision what they can be
able to prove that really they have a reason to do it," he said.
urged the former combatants not to lose hope in the ongoing negotiations
between the government and their representatives which would continue Tuesday
in the capital, Kinshasa.
would like to prefer everybody to keep the process of peace, which is going on
now as a main way that has helped everybody to stay safer. But these people
need to start a war I think the government cannot accept that the former armed
groups to start a war again because of the treatment," Bitaki said.
said failure of Kinshasa to address the concerns of the former combatants could
lead to another round of armed conflicts in the restive North Kivu province.
the government doesn't do it I cannot force them, they (rebels) will return to
the bush and what will happen I don't know I cannot give any view about what
can be as a consequence of what the armed groups if they withdraw their
combatants from the army," he said.
Under the agreement,
Kinshasa will pass an amnesty law for former rebels. Both sides also agreed to
what is described as the principle of a local police force, understood as a
branch of the Congolese national police, which listens to the public and serves
at their will.