RUMANGABO – Soldiers of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a former rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) unstable east, Thursday began integrating into the national army.
This was marked by some 50 CNDP soldiers participating in the initial exercise whose launching ceremony at Rumangabo military camp was attended by top government officials including Defense Minister Charles Mwando who welcomed the development.
“I note the act of integration of CNDP forces as well as Pareco into the armed forces and I congratulate you,” the visibly pleased Minister said during the event.
Julien Paluku, the Governor of North Kivu referred to the occasion as “a big day for the Province of North Kivu” and thanked all involved for the effort that will bring peace to the region.
He pointed out that the exercise having been endorsed earlier before, had now come to the most important phase – implementation.
“No one benefits from war,” he pointed out, “all we benefit from is peace.”
During the ceremony, the CNDP soldiers were each given new Congolese army uniforms as they discarded of their old ones amidst applause.
Lt. Gen. John Numbi, Commander of Umoja Wetu, the joint Rwanda -DRC military operation in eastern DRC, told reporters that the country was now on the path towards peace.
“Peace is really sacred for us all,” he said, implying that the event was a marker of durable peace.
Numbi underlined that the FDLR remained the sub-region’s distinctive enemy of which the partnership was determined to do away with.