M23, DR Congo Govt Disagree On Repatriation

M23 ex-combatants have expressed concern over the manner, in which the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is handling their repatriation.
M23 Political leader Bertrand Bisimwa
M23 Political leader Bertrand Bisimwa
On Monday, the DRC government started repatriating the ex-combatants from Bihanga military Camp in Uganda in line with the Nairobi peace.

According to the agreement, the DRC government is expected to repatriate the 1430 ex-combatants, grant them amnesty and reintegrate them with their communities.

The government is also expected to repatriate all Congolese nationals living in Uganda. However, recently, the DRC government declared that, there will be no blanket amnesty for all the rebels in the now defunct rebel group.
The government expressed unease with granting amnesty to the rebel leaders like Sultan Makenga and Bisiimwa.  This pronouncement has not gone down well with Bertrand Bisiimwa, the former leader of the M23 rebel fighters.
He accuses the DRC government of backtracking on the Nairobi declaration agreed upon by the two parties.
Sultani Makenga, M23 rebel leader
Sultani Makenga, M23 rebel leader

Bisiimwa says the selective application of amnesty as opposed to the blanket amnesty agreed upon will compel them to unbind themselves from the agreement.

In a written statement, the former rebels have threatened to pull out of the agreed peace deal in Nairobi if their demands are not met. Our reporters couldn’t easily get a comment from the Congolese government on the matter.

However, Ofwono Opondo, the Executive director of the government owned media said that the Ugandan government is handling the controversy ‘diplomatically’.

M23 rebels denounced rebellion in 2013 after fighting for 8 years. The rebels were fighting against marginalization from the Government armed forces – FARC.
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