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DR Congo: the M23 “not really concerned” by the ceasefire agreement, according to a spokesman

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A spokesperson for M23, on the offensive in the Democratic Republic of Congo, said Thursday that the rebel group was “not really concerned” by the ceasefire agreement reached the day before in Luanda, in Angola.

A spokesman for M23 estimated Thursday, November 24, that the rebel movement, on the offensive in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was “not really concerned” by the ceasefire agreement. fire announced the day before in Luanda.

“The M23 became aware of this document in the social networks… There was nobody in this summit so it does not really concern us”, declared to AFP Lawrence Kanyuka, political spokesman of the “Movement of March 23”.

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

A mini-summit organized on Wednesday in the Angolan capital brought together Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi and, in the absence of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vincent Biruta.

In a press briefing on Thursday evening in Kinshasa, the Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula, simply recalled: “tomorrow, 6 p.m., the M23 must cease all its attacks”.

The M23, a former Tutsi rebellion, took up arms again at the end of last year and has been considered from the start by Kinshasa as actively supported by Rwanda, which denies it. Rebels recently seized large swaths of territory north of Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu.

Soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo patrol around Kiwanja airfield, days after clashes with M23 rebels in Rutshuru, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, April 3, 2022. © Guerchom Ndebo, AFP

Call for direct dialogue

The Luanda mini-summit decided on a cessation of hostilities on Friday evening in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, followed by the withdrawal of the M23 rebels “from the occupied areas” and their “retreat to their initial positions”. If the rebels refuse, the East African regional force being deployed in Goma “will use force to push them into submission”.

Lawrence Kanyuka said the rebels themselves declared a “unilateral ceasefire” in April and believed it was still in effect. “If tomorrow at 6 p.m., or in the morning, the government does not attack us, we will still be there,” he said. Otherwise, “we will defend ourselves,” he said.

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

As long as the rebels occupy portions of Congolese territory, the Kinshasa government refuses to discuss with the M23, which it describes as a “terrorist movement”.

With AFP

France 24-Trans

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