Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


DRC's M23 rebels warn of new conflict risk

07 November 2014, 13:56

Kampala - The leader of the Democratic Republic of Congo's defeated M23 rebels has warned of the possibility of renewed conflict, signalling mounting frustrations among the group's confined-to-camp fighters.

The rebels' 18-month war, during in which they briefly seized the key town of Goma, capital of mineral rich North Kivu province, was brought to an end a year ago by government troops and UN peacekeepers, with fighters fleeing into neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda.

Most of the rebels signed an amnesty deal in May vowing not to fight again, but M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa said that if Kinshasa did not fulfil its side of the deal, he could not "give guarantees for what will happen tomorrow."

"The main causes of this conflict should be dealt with, the causes remain. Today, the security situation in the country has completely deteriorated," he told AFP in an interview in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

National reconciliation  

"Negative forces continue to plunder the east," he said, complaining that no other rebel force "has been disarmed or stopped."

"They continue to kill. The number of women raped increases each day. The question of refugees has not been resolved. The issue of national reconciliation has simply been forgotten," Bisimwa said.

While the M23 were defeated, multiple armed groups still operate in a region that has been in turmoil for the best part of the past two decades.

Much of the rebel activity consists of abuses against civilians and illegal exploitation of natural resources, be it metals, ivory or timber.

No guarantees

He accused Kinshasa of reneging on its side of a deal, including the release of M23 fighters from prisons in DRC - and that this meant M23 fighters in camps in Uganda were fearful of returning to reestablish the group as a mainstream political party.

With their fighters disarmed and held under guard in camps in Uganda and Rwanda the M23 now hold little if any influence on the ground. The M23 chief, however, implicitly warned his men would fight again should agreements fail.

"When we took up arms, it was when we were forced to do so because to not take up arms would have meant dying. When our people are killed, out of view of the cameras, when our women are raped and our possessions looted, what do you expect us to do? And those that were doing it did so either with the knowledge of the government or its army. What should we have done?" he said.

"We cannot give guarantees of what will happen tomorrow. If the government does not respect its commitments, we regret to tell you that nobody will force us to respect ours," Bisimwa said.

The United Nations and Kinshasa accused both Rwanda and Uganda of actively backing the mainly ethnic-Tutsi M23 rebellion, launched by mutinous soldiers, claims denied by both Kigali and Kampala.

DRC President Joseph Kabila announced the amnesty in February, to cover "acts of insurgency, acts of war and political offences".

However, more serious transgressions are excluded from the amnesty, including crimes against humanity, torture, sexual violence, child conscription and embezzlement and looting.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Eugene Odanga
WATCH: Kaka Sungura arrested in t...

Was Kaka Sungura arrested in town?

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Confused Jubilee afraid of me, Ki...

The Jubilee Party is afraid of me, Evans Kidero says. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Sonko ready for Peter Kenneth bat...

Nairobi Senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko says that he is ready to take on Peter Kenneth in Nairobi Gubernatorial nominations come 2017. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Uhuru wants change in Constitutio...

The Jubilee Coalition is planning to change the Constitution and add President Uhuru Kenyatta another term, Kalonzo Musyoka claims. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
CORD to stop Jubilee efforts to r...

The CORD Coalition will not allow plans to remove Kenya from the Rome Statutes take place, it has said. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
How long will it take Kenya to le...

Kenya is looking to leave the ICC. But what is the process behind the exit? Read more...