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Kabila, Army Chief of Staff head to eastern Congo to deal with defectors

Congo News Agency - April 10, 2012
Joseph Kabila and Paul Kagame à Goma
Under a brighter sky, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, who had supported the CNDP rebels, with President Joseph Kabila during a visit in Goma in 2010
President Joseph Kabila and the Congolese Army Chief of Staff, General Didier Etumba, arrived in Goma on Monday to deal with the security threat posed by the defections of former rebels integrated into the army under a peace deal.

General Etumba, who precedeed President Kabila in the capital of North Kivu Province, said upon his arrival that “those who do not want to submit to the republican order will be hunted down by the army,” alluding to the former CNDP rebels who left their units in North and South Kivu provinces last week.

“There are some undisciplined soldiers that must be hunted down and they are being hunted in the most radical way. This is not about demands. Someone who is undisciplined and does not want to submit to the Constitution of the Republic, the laws of the Republic, someone who does not follow the instructions of the President and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.  Someone who refuses to be patriotic cannot serve under the flag. And when this happens, when they take up arms, well, they must be hunted and neutralized and those who have legal problems will have to answer for them.”

The defections began after Congolese authorities came under heavy pressure from the international community requesting the transfer of Bosco Ntaganda to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Former CNDP rebels began deserting their units, taking ammunitions and other military equipment with them.

General Ntaganda, a former CNDP rebel leader integrated into the Army in 2009 under a peace deal, is wanted by the ICC for war crimes committed in 2002 and 2003 in the Ituri region, in north-eastern DR Congo. He is accused of conscripting children under the age of 15 into his militia.

After Thomas Lubanga was convicted by the ICC on March 14 for using child soldiers, ICC prosecutor José Luis Moreno Ocampo said he will press Congolese authorities to arrest Ntaganda.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders is reported to have urged President Kabila to arrest Ntaganda during a visit to Kinshasa two weeks ago.

Congolese authorities have so far resisted arresting Ntaganda, saying his arrest may cause more harm than good.

Ntaganda, a former member of the Rwandan army, replaced warlord Laurent Nkunda, also a former member of the Rwandan army, as the leader of the CNDP rebels who wreaked havoc in eastern Congo for years.

The United Nations accused Rwanda in 2008 of supporting the CNDP. Congolese and Rwandan authorities struck a deal in 2009 that led to the arrest of Nkunda by the Rwandan army and subsequent joint military operations with the Congolese army against Rwandan FDLR rebels based in eastern Congo.

Excerpts from Radio Okapi article

GuestMay 2, 2012 11:57
Dear Colleagues.I am very happy to have access to your site, I am feel free to express my self with these free line writing.I will suggest that the government repair our relationship with Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan. Rwanda is the gate way of olur exportation to reach Kenya, we need that relation to bring provision in the East of our Country. This why Mobutu did establisht the community of great lake to reduce cost that our economy can suffer, but we did lost this relation and rejected Rwanda, It is now a Commonwealth country member who has not interest with Congo now, this is why we cannot to solve the problem in EAST RDCongo. Rwanda is a strategic partner with RDC, this is by the history since the colonization time. We cannot live in a state of conflict, because we will very vulnerable, if they want to create us a problem, It is easy they can allow our enemies to enter by their territory. My opinion, is that we repair all the remaining issue and restore a free exchange economic this can accelerate growth in the East of Congo. I am insisting about corruption, this the disease that kill our country, the only way to expose is to bring the justice, by exposing anyone, whatever an officer who seek corruption can be brought to the Justice then people can have respect conscience for their responsibilities.Please, I am happy to hear from you and happy to contribute may be in constructing useful idea that can help the population. Contact me : Alfred Moss facebook

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