11 armed groups in DR Congo demand included in national dialogue

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-9-17 17:53:29

Eleven armed groups operating in North Kivu and South Kivu provinces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) are demanding they be included in the national dialogue.

Speaking on Monday under the umbrella of the "supreme council of self-defense armed groups in eastern DR Congo", the groups said the issue of insecurity in this part of the country cannot be resolved without their involvement.

The groups say they have been excluded in the national talks at the initiative of President Joseph Kabila to find a solution in eastern DR Congo.

However, a team was set up during the talks opened on Sept. 7 to handle the issue of disarmament of the militia groups.

"We believe that the actors should have been involved so that the decisions taken can be long lasting and applicable on the ground," said Jacques Kabusala, the secretary general of the coalition of the 11 armed groups.

He said it is unfair for the government to agree to talk to the M23 rebels in the Ugandan capital Kampala and fail to invite them to the national talks.

"We believed that the national dialogue will be an ideal forum for us to discuss how to completely end the recurrent problem of insecurity in the east," Kabusala said, urging the Congolese authorities to reverse their decision as soon as possible.

Before the start of the national dialogue, the Congolese government had said that all armed groups operating in the eastern part of the country, including the M23, had not been invited.

"We cannot sit on the same negotiation table with people who have been killing our fellow citizens," government spokesman Lambert Mende explained before the start of the talks.

But the issue of the participation of armed groups was again raised during the sessions of the national dialogue.

Last weekend, the opposition members taking part in the talks suspended their participation to demand the presence of the armed groups.

The opposition members only agreed to come back to the negotiation table after they were promised by the authorities that representatives of the self-defense militia groups will be invited to the talks.

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