UN Wants M23 Reintegrated In DRC Army

The United Nations says the Democratic Republic of Congo should prepare a plan to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate former rebels of the March 23 movement.
M23 rebels walk inside an enclosure after surrendering to Uganda's government at Rugwerero village in Kisoro district last week. Reuters.
M23 rebels walk inside an enclosure after surrendering to Uganda’s government at Rugwerero village in Kisoro district last week. Reuters.

Abdallah Wafi, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s deputy special representative to Congo, made the remarks on Wednesday, a week after the UN mission in Congo, known as MONUSCO, helped the Congolese army defeat the 18-month-old M23 insurgency.

Wafi said the measure, which he called DDR plan, is key to ensure peace and security in the country’s violence-ridden east.

“I would like to emphasize the need for the DRC authorities to have a DDR plan… that benefits all the components of armed groups. Long-term peace and security cannot be guaranteed in the Kivus (eastern provinces) without it,” he said.

On November 5, the M23 announced an end to their revolt after a bruising offensive by the Congolese army and UN forces.

M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa said in a statement that the group would disarm and pursue political talks.

The M23 rebels seized Goma on November 20, 2012 after UN peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city of one million people. M23 fighters withdrew from the city on December 1 under a ceasefire accord.

The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 in protest over alleged mistreatment in the army. They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.

Since early May 2012, nearly three million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.5 million have resettled in Congo, but about 500,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.

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