Members of the former Congolese rebel group M23 should not be sent back from Rwanda until the Kinshasa government honors the terms of a peace deal signed in 2013 for their repatriation, a former rebel leader Jean Marie Runiga said Tuesday.
Runiga said Kinshasa government violated the Nairobi protocol that granted amnesty to the rebels.
Hundreds of M23 rebels fled to Rwanda and Uganda late in 2013 following a UN-backed Congolese military operation in eastern Congo, which dislodged the rebels from once controlled vast territory.
The DR Congo government and the rebels inked a peace agreement in December 2013 under which the repatriation of all fighters was to be done by the end of 2014.
Runiga insisted Tuesday the Nairobi peace agreement has been violated by arresting, mistreating and jailing those who repatriated.
He also said the conditions are not right for their return with Rwandan FDLR rebels and other armed groups yet to be disarmed.
“FDLR is not being disarmed, our property and land was taken over by the FDLR,” Runiga said, stressing that the Rwandan rebels should be uprooted before they repatriate.
He was speaking to Rwanda government and Congolese officials who visited their camp in Ngoma district in eastern Rwanda.
The Congolese officials led by Leon Kalima have been in Rwanda to discuss the repatriation of the former fighters.
Parfait Gahamanyi, the director general in Rwanda’s foreign ministry said Rwanda will continue to facilitate the discussions.
It was announced that the Congolese deputy minister of defense Rene Nsibu is due in Rwanda on Wednesday for more discussions with the former rebels. Enditem