M23 Peace Negotiations Coordinator Resigns
Rene Abandi, the top official of the M23 who led a team that negotiated the Kampala peace deal has resigned from his post as the coordinator of the implementation of the peace deal.
In a letter sent to the chairman of the rebel group Bertrand Bisiimwa, Abandi cites the continued violation of the peace deal by the Congolese Government as his key reason for resigning.
“Indeed, Kinshasa Government has taken a series of decisions that express its refusal to implement the Nairobi Declarations. All in all, it doesn’t consider itself anymore bound by its signature and organized repatriation which ignores and violates the Nairobi Declarations,” the letter reads in part.
M23 rebels have previously expressed discontent at the manner in which the government in Kinshasa is handling the repatriation of rebels. In an earlier interview, the chairman of the movement Bertrand Bisiimwa said many of their leaders who had been repatriated to DRC had died under unclear circumstances.
A group being held at Bihanga military barracks in Uganda also escaped from the camp to avoid repatriation. They were later brought back to the camp under the agreement that he UN would handle their repatriation worries.
“For these reasons and others that your press releases (communiqués) and correspondences were able to express, I hereby present to you my resignation as coordinator responsible for the implementation of the Nairobi’s Declarations on behalf of the M23 Movement,” he adds in his letter.
Rene Abandi who was instrumental in piecing together the rebels to agree to a peace deal states that he will still remain a member of the M23 rebel movement despite resigning as a head of the peace process.
Abandi was previously a spokesperson of the Movement before he assumed the role as the coordinator of the peace deal.
The Nairobi declaration was signed by the DRC government and M23 rebels as an end to the war. Part of the deal includes granting amnesty to m23 rebels and repatriation and integration of the rebels into the country. However, both sides have accused each other of violating its provisions.
In his parting shot, Rene Abandi says he doesn’t believe the M23 will announce a new head to replace him as the coordinator. The movement has said they will make an announcement later today on the matter.
M23 chairman Bertrand Bisiimwa was not readily available for comment as his known phone lines were switched off