The defeated M23 rebels are to sign a peace deal with the D R Congo government today, bringing to an end more than 20 months of fighting in the east of the vast country.
After months of delays, the peace agreement appears to be the most realistic option for the rebels after they were beaten and forced out of their positions by a combined force from the DRC army and the United Nations Intervention Brigade.
Uganda government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo is quoted by the local media as saying the peace deal will be signed at State House Entebbe.
The rebels, who accuse Kinshasa of reneging on an earlier deal with another movement of ethnic Tutsis, gave up their insurrection last week after the army backed by a U.N. force routed them from their hideouts. The rebel leaders later announced a ceasefire and asked their fighters to prepare for disarmament.
The M23 military commander, Brigadier Sultani Makenga, is among thousands of fighters currently in Uganda after the fled the heavy fighting. Uganda has been trying with international support to mediate an end to the fighting.
Makenga’s surrender is being viewed as a major achievement for the DRC as it struggles to impose order in the largely lawless eastern part.
But analysts are skeptical there will be sustained peace in an area devastated by two decades of conflict that has killed millions and is still home to other fighting groups including the Allied Democratic Forces—ADF and the remnants of the former Rwandan army, the FDLR.