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M23 Rebels; The Ceasefire Between Congo And Rwanda Doesn't Concern Us

M23 Rebels; The Ceasefire Between Congo And Rwanda Doesn’t Concern Us

The M23 Rebels said on Thursday that a ceasefire announced a day earlier “doesn’t really concern us,”. This was while calling for “direct dialogue” with Democratic Republic of Congo’s government.

“M23 has seen the document on social media… There was nobody in the summit (from M23) so it doesn’t really concern us,” Lawrence Kanyuka, political spokesman for the M23 (March 23) movement, told AFP.

“Normally when there is a ceasefire it is between the two warring sides,” he added.

DRC’s President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta attended a mini-summit in the Angolan capital on Wednesday.

At a media briefing in Kinshasa on Thursday, Congolese Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula said: “Tomorrow, 6:00 pm, the M23 must stop all its attacks.”

M23 rebels had been dormant for years, but took up arms again late last year. They have been seen from the start by Kinshasa as actively supported by Rwanda, which denies the claims.

The rebels recently seized large portions of territory north of Goma, the provincial capital of DRC’s Nord-Kivu province.

The Luanda mini-summit concluded with a deal on the cessation of hostilities in eastern DRC. This is from Friday evening, followed by the withdrawal of M23 rebels from “occupied zones”. And their “withdrawal to their initial positions”.

If the rebels refuse, the East African regional force being deployed in Goma “will use force” to push them out, the deal said.

Kanyuka said the rebels declared a “unilateral ceasefire” in April and believed it was still in force.

“If tomorrow at 6:00 pm (1600 GMT), or in the morning, the government doesn’t attack us, we will still be there,” he said.

Otherwise, “we are defending ourselves,” he said.

“We are always ready for a direct dialogue with the Congolese government to resolve the root causes of conflicts,” he added.

The government in Kinshasa has refused to engage with the M23 group. It will keep calling them a “terrorist movement”, as long as they keep occupying territory in DRC.

In response to a question, Lutundula ruled out direct negotiations with the M23 group.

Source: AFP

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