The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has called on all foreign armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo to immediately return to their countries of origin.
This, Guterres said, is for all other armed groups to participate without pre-conditions in the political process in the country.
The United Nations chief made the call through Eri Kaneko, his spokesperson, shortly before the botched consultative dialogue between armed groups and the government of the DR Congo in Nairobi, Kenya.
Shortly before the collapse of the consultative dialogue in Nairobi, clashes resumed between the M23 rebel movement and the DR Congo army on Saturday, April 23.
“The clashes resumed this afternoon. We are in a position of legitimate defence. We are defending so that we don’t concede a single metre of our territory to the invaders,” Lt.-Col. Muhindo Lwanzo, Director of Cabinet of the Military Administrator of Rutshuru territory in North Kivu disclosed.
A civil society activist corroborated the administrator’s claim, noting that the DR Congo soldiers took control of a stronghold of the rebels.
“The fighting started at 15:50 hours. The FARDC have succeeded in taking control of the Bugusa hill which was held by the M23 rebels this evening,” said Damien Sebuzanane, president of the civil society of Jomba group in Rutshuru.
The clashes started a few hours after consultations in Nairobi between the DR Congo government and armed groups were called off due to what the DR Congo called ‘logistic reasons’.
But HumAngle learnt that the dialogue was cancelled because many of the armed group leaders could not make it to Nairobi.
The consultation, scheduled to hold on Thursday, April 21, was to be mediated by Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and leaders of the East African Community (EAC) made up of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and the DR Congo.
Earlier, the DR Congo presidency announced that it had demanded and obtained from the Kenyan facilitators of the dialogue, the expulsion of the M23 Makenga delegation, a branch of the M23 which is accused of having attacked positions of the DR Congo army from the hall.
The M23 rebels accused the DR Congo army of “having the manifest intention of compromising the peace process decided by a conclave of four heads of states in Nairobi”.
The talks finally collapsed and were postponed to a date not yet announced “because many of the armed group leaders could not make it to Nairobi due to logistical reasons”.
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