DR Congo to open center for reintegration of combatants
www.chinaview.cn 2009-01-19 18:41:36   Print

    by Xiao Lingjun

    NAIROBI, Jan. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) is to open a center in its troubled eastern province of North Kivu for Tutsi rebels and other combatants willing to be reintegrated into national army.

    General Vainqueur Mayala, regional military commander, announced the center would be opened in the coming days in the city of Mushake, where a meeting was held on Sunday to discuss the reintegration of combatants.

    The announcement marked the latest development after the rebel National Council for the Defense of the People (CNDP) chief of staff, Bosco Ntaganda, signed a peace deal with the government in repudiation of CNDP leader Laurent Nkunda.

    Barriers were being removed in an area 40 km away from the provincial capital of Goma, where Ntaganda's generals announced an end to hostilities on Friday.

    Goma is relieved of pressure with the dissident CNDP fighters and a pro-government militia burying the axe. The militia, known by its French acronym PARECO, said they saw no reason for continued fighting with Ntaganda's men.

    Both factions have agreed to be reincorporated into the government army FARDC.

    Ntaganda and PARECO leader Mugabo Bagumu were present at the start of the operation to lift roadblocks between Mushake and Goma.

    Signs of splits between Ntaganda and Nkunda were reported seven months ago. When the CNDP routed the FARDC in advances toward Gomain late October, Ntaganda announced the death of his boss in a signed document.

    The showdown came ahead of the latest round of talks that began on Jan. 7 between the government and the CNDP in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Ntaganda based in the mountainous Masisi region declared the takeover of the 5,000-strong rebel group from Nkunda, who is usually headquartered in Rutshuru.

    The final division occurred amid speculation that Nkunda held Ntaganda responsible for killing 150 civilians in Kiwanja in November and would take punitive measures against him.

    The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Ntaganda on charges of conscripting children under 15 in the civil war. Nkunda may want to get rid of him in the power struggle in a bid to clean the CNDP which also faces serious criminal charges, analysts said.

    Nkunda has yet to conclude a formal cessation of hostilities with the government. No agreement was reached during the Nairobi talks, which adjourned late Thursday until next week.

    The CNDP leader is under pressure with dissident generals signing a deal in Goma with the FARDC, in the presence of Interior Minister Celestin Mbuyu, as well as DR Congolese and Rwandan army chiefs.

    It is not clear whether Nkunda would strike a deal of his own with the government in the next round of talks.

    The renegade Tutsi general is currently conditioning an agreement on the FARDC withdrawal from a so-called buffer zone his men had vacated for UN humanitarian aid to refugees. But the government and the UN peace mission in the vast central African country have repeatedly denied the FARDC presence.

    The escalating conflict between government forces and the CNDP has displaced an estimated 250,000 people since last August on top of the 800,000 already rendered homeless in the region, mainly in North Kivu Province which borders Rwanda and Uganda.

Editor: Zhang Xiang
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