M23 rebels have accepted to withdraw from positions they had captured in Eastern DR Congo to allow for negotiations with Felix Tshisekedi’s government.
After a ten-year lull, M23 rebels earlier this month resumed their activities in Eastern DRC by launching attacks in which several areas were captured.
However, in a statement released on Sunday morning, the rebels have accepted to withdraw from these positions to give way for negotiations with the Kinshasa establishment.
“We shall withdraw from the positions conquered after April 6, in order to facilitate the signing of a bilateral ceasefire and the opening of dialogue with the DR Congo government,” Maj Willy Ngoma, the M23 spokesperson said.
Last month it was reported that the rebel group had resumed its activities and to this, they attack FADRC military positions in Chanzu and Runyonyi, in North Kivu province.
The attacks which have extended towards the Ugandan border at Bunagana have since seen a response by the Congolese army to repel the rebels.
The resurgence of attacks by M23 rebels has seen thousands of Congolese refugees flee to Uganda.
In the statement released on Sunday, M23 rebels said they would hand over the Congolese army soldiers captured during the fight to Red Cross.
“To this end, the M23 expresses its intention to hand over to the International Committee of the Red Cross all elements of the national army captured on the front line for appropriate care,” Maj Ngoma said.
M23 however said by starting war, it never intended to conquer and rule over Congolese areas but rather to ensure peaceful resolution of the crisis in Eastern DRC.
“The leadership of the movement reminds the public that it never intended to conquer spaces in order to administer them; our only motivation is the peaceful resolution of the crisis.”
Formed by former members of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) a Tutsi militia group that Rwanda and Uganda once supported, M23 was at its peak between 2012 and 2013.
Whereas in 2009 CNDP fighters were incorporated into the Congolese army following an agreement, in 2012, they rebelled over claims the agreement had not been respected by the Kinshasa governemnt and renamed their group M23.
The group later captured several parts in North Kivu but were later defeated and driven out of the areas they had captured.
They later signed an agreement and were reintegrated into society but some of the fighters stayed in the bush.
Following a 10 year lull, M23 rebels this year resumed attacks.
SOURCE: NILE POST