The New Times (Kigali)

15 November 2012

Rwanda: Government Condemns Renewed Fighting in DRC

Photo: Sylvain Liechti/Monusco
Displaced by conflict (file photo): There is widespread concern that the renewed fighting will hamper the ongoing peace process.

Rwanda has urged the Congolese army (FARDC) and the rebel force M23 to cease renewed hostility in eastern DRCand respect the peace resolutions tabled by the region through the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

Despite a three-month ceasefire in place, violence broke out yesterday morning in the volatile eastern DRC, where media reported dozens to have been killed in the latest fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebels.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and government spokesperson, Louise Mushikiwabo, expressed concern that the breakout in fighting will undermine the ongoing ICGLR peace process.

"The resumption of fighting between FARDC and M23 violates directives agreed by the 11 member states of the ICGLR who are working to restore much needed peace in the Eastern DRC," Mushikiwabo said in a statement released yesterday evening.

"This violence close to our (Rwandan) border has direct repercussions on us - we have already seen civilians injured today from stray bullets on Rwandan territory as well as renewed influx of Congolese refugees. We do not want any further casualties," Mushikiwabo said in a statement.

According to the Minister, the violent activities of the FARDC, M23 and other armed groups in DRC must stop "because they continue to jeopardize ongoing regional efforts to bring about lasting peace and security in Eastern DRC."

She expressed optimism ahead of the findings by the ICGLR Joint Verification Mechanism that is already on the ground and Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre on this situation and hope that this will facilitate immediate containment.

The Mechanism was set up by the ICGLR as a result of series of meetings by regional Heads of State, which took place in Kampala preceded by another one in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

M23 rebels are as a result of a mutiny staged earlier this year by armed forces, formerly members of the Congolese armed forces, accusing their government of reneging on a peace agreement signed in 2009.

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