Defeated Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s M23 rebels, who are currently living in Rwanda and Uganda camps as ‘refugees’, may be regrouping and reorganising in these countries to launch fresh attacks on the Kivus.
This has emerged from a recent report of the United Nations (UN) that decried delays and the lack of progress in implementing the Nairobi declaration signed between the M23 and the DRC government in December 2013.
In terms of the deal, M23 rebels would be identified, disarmed and repatriated in DRC, and enrolled in the Congolese army.
The process of identification of ex-combatants, disarmament and repatriation, which was supposed to have started in April has stalled, Afrikarabia reports this week.
Several elements of the former rebel group, including their disgraced leaders Sultani Makenga and Innocent Kaina, have also been seen moving freely inside and outside their camps across Uganda and Rwanda, Afrikarabia said, citing the same report.
Makenga and Kaina have both been excluded from the amnesty law by the DRC government, to the dismay of the governments of Rwanda and Uganda which want total amnesty.
The report also said that many M23 elements have simply escaped and could not be traced. These new developments are said to be worrying UN experts, who have begun to fear the worst for the eastern DRC.
M23 reorganised and moved some of its soldiers and officers, especially the top leadership, the report said, wondering who gave these orders and what was the purpose of such reorganisation and regrouping.
Photo: M23 rebels in North Kivu in March 2013. Credit: MONUSCO, Sylvain Liechti