U.N. pushes peace agreement in Congo following M23 surrender.
The United Nations has confirmed that the Congolese army now has complete control over all the areas previously controlled by the M23 Congolese rebels following their surrender to the Ugandan authorities.
Martin Kobler, the U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo, says the next stage is a delicate one. “It is important to find a political settlement through concluding the Kampala process,” he said. “It is now of utmost importance for the government to establish its authority on the whole region and start its development.”
The U.N. also gave a clear warning to the other armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo, namely the Forces démocratiques liberation du Rawanda (FDLR), who also pose a serious threat to the peace process. Kobler says other rebel groups are likely to try to take advantage of the current void left by the disbanding of the M23.
The Ugandan third secretary Robert Mugimba told BET.com that disarmament, demobilization and the reintegration of M23 are crucial next steps in the peace agreement.
The splinter group is composed of mainly former members from the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) — a political armed militia group established by former warlord Laurent Nkunda. On March 23, 2012, following a breakdown in peace talks between the Congolese government and CNDP, M23 was formed.
Over the past 18 months, the group, led by Sultani Makenga, has waged a sustained attack on the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the United Nations, the group’s armed campaign is estimated to have displaced more than 60,000 civilians.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Joseph Kay)