4 December 2012

Congo-Kinshasa: ICGLR Urges DRC Govt to Address M23 Grievances

Photo: Sylvain Liechti/UN
Weapons retrieved from rebels by the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo being destroyed.(file photo).

Goma — The Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has called on the government of Democratic Republic of Congo to look into the grievances that were raised by M23 rebels now that they have withdrawn from Goma.

Ntumba Luaba, who witnessed the rebels' withdrawal on Saturday, told The New Times that the regional grouping was satisfied with the rebels' compliance and it is now up to the DRC to respond to latter's grievances so that peace can return.

"The time for peace has come. The rebels have raised their concerns, the process is progressing well and in about a week.

The Tanzanian government will next week appoint the commander of the neutral international force proposed by ICGLR to contribute to peace operations in eastern DRC.

In particular, the proposed force, to be deployed along the Rwanda-DRC border, will help flush out armed groups operating in eastern Congo, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), largely blamed for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi - in which more than a million people were killed.

The African Union has pledged to contribute troops for the proposed neutral force to help return eastern Congo to normalcy after years of hostilities.

Luaba said that the neutral force will also deploy at Goma airport where they will be accompanied by a group of Congolese soldiers and a contingent of M23 rebels.

Asked about recent announcements by the military leader of M23 that if no diplomatic solution is found the movement will finish the job they started, Luaba expressed confidence in the ongoing peace process in eastern DRC.

Regarding the funding of this neutral force, Luaba said that that the DRC government has already given its approval of US$20m even though 100million dollars are needed to fund this force.

South Africa has offered to provide logistics to the envisaged force.

Meanwhile, Congolese who were displaced into IDP camps during the recent turmoil say that the UN force in Congo (MONUSCO) is not fulfilling their mandate of protecting civilians.

During a field visit on Monday, Claude Rumaziminsi, the camp administrator of Mugunga III refugee camp, located on the outskirts of Goma, said that more refugees continued to arrive at the camp because of insecurity in their homes.

"We were attacked by unknown gunmen on Saturday and when we called MONUSCO, they said that they did not have fuel," he said with disappointment.

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