GOMA – General Laurent Nkunda, the head of the rebel CNDP agreed to lay down weapons in a bid to bring peace in the region.
Nkunda on October 23 sent 200 soldiers to the assembly points of Kirorirwe in North Kivu province for integration into the government army in accordance to demands from the international community and the DRC government to disarm in order to end the current conflict in North Kivu.
CNDP spokesman, Rene Abandi confirmed this development on phone and said more will be sent to bring the total to 500 combatants as a sign of willingness to end the conflict that has forced thousands out of their homes and into refuge camps.
He added that sending troops to the integration camps was a step in triggering talks between the CNDP and the government on how the Interahamwe issue could be resolved and design ways on how refuges could return to their respective homes.
“The international community has set requirements to both CNDP and the Congolese government and we are adjusting to the requests.
Our continuous progress will however depend on how the government reacts to our demands,” adding that they might not cooperate if the government refuses to respond to their demands.
He added that among the demands by the international community is laying down weapons and integrate with the Government troops, and changing CNDP from a politico-military movement to a political party. He said they were ready to abide by the demands if only government was willing to talk.
He neither dismissed allegations that their change in attitude was a sign of fear or failure to fight the government nor was it pressure imposed to them by the international community.
“We are not doing this out of fear. We are doing it for peace. We shall continue defending our people until we have clear talks with the government and the assurance of security after ceasefire,” he stated.
In his recent visit to Goma, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila, promised to provide security to the Tutsi Congolese in North Kivu after forceful disarmament of Nkunda’s troops and to disarm the Interahamwe and X-FAR who are said to be a threat to the Tutsi Congolese.