Congo-Kinshasa: Rebels Warn Government Against Attack

The New Times (Kigali)

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Ignatius Ssuuna And Kennedy Ndahiro

Rebels allied to Maj. Gen. Laurent Nkunda's Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) have threatened to take their fight to new heights if government forces attack their positions again.

CNDP's new spokesman, Bertrand Bisimwa told Sunday Times that the government coalition force which includes Rwandan rebels of the FDLR, Pareco and Mai Mai, was ferrying troops and equipment from Kisangani for a major offensive in Tongo.

"We have warned MONUC of the imminent attack. We told them to advise FARDC (government army) not to attempt to attack us because if they do, we will defend ourselves and there will be no stopping us," said Bisimwa.

He explained that CNDP's recent decision to change their objectives and opt to liberate the whole country instead of remaining in the Kivu region was a result of the government's failure to honour its part of the bargain.

"The government has failed to address the problems of the country. We have even on several occasions sought to have direct talks with them, but they have refused," said the CNDP spokesman.

"We are not going to cross our arms while our people are being killed by the government and its allies, FDLR, Mai Mai and Pareco. We will take the fight to them,' he said, in a very mater-of-fact tone.

CNDP new stance has not gone down well with the UN peacekeeping force, MONUC.

"Monuc firmly condemns the recent declaration of Laurent Nkunda calling for an insurrection against the elected legitimate Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)," says a press release dated 3, September.

In a telephone interview with Sunday Times, Monuc spokesperson Michel Bonnardeaux said MONUC and the international community shall not tolerate "this renewed attempt at destabilizing the political process."

He said MONUC was optimistic that Nkunda was not ready to fight on despite his recent threats and he appealed to the belligerents in Congo to walk a peaceful path.

This week, BBC quoted Gen. Nkunda saying he was walking out of a January peace deal and would now fight to liberate the whole of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"This is not possible because, there is an agreement in place to make this impossible," Bonnardeaux said.

But the MONUC spokesman's statements were dismissed by Bertrand Bisimwa who said that it was a Congolese problem that would be solved by Congolese people.

"We said that we would call on Congolese to rise and fight this government. Why should that be a problem for MONUC'" he wondered.

"The other day the head of FARDC , General Kayembe announced in Goma that he was going to destroy us, but MONUC found no problem with that. This is a clear indication that the UN is taking sides in this conflict," the rebel spokesman said accusingly.

Bisimwa also accused the UN body of turning a blind eye on FARDC's collaboration with FDLR, remnants of the former Rwandan army and Interahamwe militia responsible for the 1994 Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda.

"We have told MONUC several times to address the issue but it has refused. We have even showed them their own reports pointing to the collaboration but they just look the other way. We have failed to understand why MONUC has failed to address the real issues."

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Clashes resumed two weeks ago when the FARDC launched massive attacks on several of CNDP's positions in Rutchuru and Masisi areas, but it is reported that the last three days have been calm on all fronts.

Jean-Louis Kayitenkore
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