DRC government and M23 sign peace deal
The rebel group agreed to engage in talks in October after suffering defeats against government and UN-backed forces.
M23 rebels, who were once part of the country’s army, mutinied in 2012 [EPA]
The Democratic Republic of Congo government and M23 rebels have signed a peace agreement in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. The deal was announced through an official statement.
M23 are the latest incarnation of ethnic Tutsi-led fighters who have battled the DRC government in its mineral-rich eastern regions for more than two decades.
Government spokesman Lambert Mende said that three documents were signed at the State House in Nairobi and their provisions include a reiteration of the dissolution of M23 as an armed group, according to Reuters news agency.
He reportedly said that other provisions include details of demobilisation and a renunciation of violence as a means of pursuing future claims, adding:
“The document is very clear: there is no blanket amnesty. Those who are presumed to have committed criminal behaviour in terms of international law, war crimes or crimes against humanity will not be reinserted into society.”
Peace talks followed M23 losses
The M23, who were mainly Tutsis fighting against the government in the east of the country, agreed forpeace talks with the government in October after suffering a number of defeats against government troops of the DRC and United Nations-backed forces.
M23 were once part of the country’s army, but mutinied in 2012, accusing the government of not honouring a 2009 peace deal.
The world’s largest UN peacekeeping force has been deployed in the DRC, helping the government fight M23.
Rwanda and Uganda have been accused by the DRC and the UN of backing the rebel forces, but have repeatedly denied the allegations.
Source: Al Jazeera