Democratic Republic of the Congo
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi Accuses M23 Rebels Of Faking Agreed Pullback
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi on Tuesday said the M23 rebel group had not fully withdrawn from areas it seized, accusing the militia of faking an agreed pullback of its forces, reported The Reuters.
During a panel session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday, President Tshisekedi said the group is still there despite international pressure.
“They pretend to move, they act like they are moving, but they’re not. They’re simply moving around, redeploying elsewhere, and they stay in the towns that they have captured,” the DRC president said.
As part of a peace deal signed in November last year, the rebel group was meant to withdraw from recently seized positions by January 15 as part of efforts to end the conflict.
The conflict displaced at least 450,000 people and led to a diplomatic crisis between Congo and neigh boring Rwanda.
“President Tshisekedi has only this to say. It is the government that does not respect the cease-fire, it also continues to arm armed groups,” said Lawrence Kanyaka, a spokesman for the M23.
Earlier this month, an internal United Nations intelligence report said the M23’s purported withdrawal from some areas could not be confirmed due to continued signs of troop movement. As per the analysis, the rebel group had seized new territory elsewhere.
The DRC president also went on to accuse Rwanda of sparkling the conflict by supporting the rebels- an accusation also supported by Western powers and UN experts. Rwanda has denied the accusations.
Several civil society organizations have called for a demonstration in Goma on Wednesday, to protest delays implementing the M23 withdrawal.
Notably, the M23, which stands for “the March 23 Movement,” took up its weapons against the government in late 2021, accusing Kinshasa of failing to respect promises to reintegrate the rebels into the army.