12 December 2013

Congo-Kinshasa: Congo Signs Peace Deal With M23 Rebels in Nairobi

Photo: ICRC
Families reunited after months of separation.

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and M23 rebels signed declarations Thursday to end the bitter conflict in the east of the country, according to a document from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Malawian President Joyce Banda.

"The DR Congo government and M23 have respectively signed declarations," including the "decision by M23 to end rebellion and transform itself into a legitimate political party," read the document signed Thursday in Kenya's capital, Nairobi.

M23 have battled DRC troops in the country's east for over two decades. Government spokesman Lambert Mende said the leaders of the factions had signed three documents at the State House in Nairobi. Provisions of the peace deal include the dissolution of M23 as an armed group, as well as demobilization and a renunciation of violence as a means of pursuing future claims, he said.

"The document is very clear: there is no blanket amnesty," Mende said. "Those who are presumed to have committed criminal behavior in terms of international law, war crimes or crimes against humanity will not be reinserted into society."

mkg/ccp (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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