We will march on Goma if killings continue-M23.

John Njoroge



The breakaway rebel militia, M23, have this afternoon said it will march on to Goma if the killing of innocent civilians does not stop with immediate effect.

bishop_runiga_in-bunagana.jpg“If people of a given tribe are being killed and yet the Monusco peacekeepers cannot protect them, M23 will take over Goma,” the M23 political coordinator Bishop Jean Marie Runiga said yesterday at press conference in Bunagana in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We are capable of capturing even more ground,” Bishop Runiga added.
The group has also given Congolese President Joseph Kabila an ultimatum to respect the wishes of the Congolese people, uphold the M23 Goma agreement or face the wrath of the Congolese population.

This is the first time the M23 is putting forward the semblance of a political agenda and is seeking to show it has a political wing working on the sidelines. The group also said its fight with the Kinsasha administration is informed by the lack of proper accountability by the Congolese government, the abuse of human rights in the country and the oppression of minority groups.

“We are shocked that President Kabila convened a meeting of his parliamentarians and claimed the M23 agreement does not exist,” Bishop Runiga said, as other reports filtered in that Congolese government has ordered civilians in Goma to close shops.

The reported order to close shop fuelled further speculation that an advanced front in the upsurge in fighting is about to be opened in the eastern DRC area of Goma.
“If he cannot solve the problems of M23 and those of the Congolese people, we will rise sharply against him, and soon,” Bishop Runiga declared.

He also refuted claims that the group was being funded by the Rwanda government and sought to distance the group from any association with wanted rebel leader Gen Bosco Ntaganda.
bishop_jm_runiga.jpg“We have no support from Rwanda. We are supported by the people of Congo. The weapons you see were abandoned by the Congolese army as they fled. The uniforms we put on are uniforms of armies of different countries,” Bishop Runiga said.
“Those who want Gen. Ntaganda should ask President Kabila who we believe is sheltering him although he has recently called for his arrest,” Bishop Runiga added.
He also called on the international community to conduct a speedy investigation into atrocities that have occurred in the recent past in Goma, adding that if quick intervention is not made, a 1994 Rwanda genocide situation could crop up.

He also accused the UN stabilisation mission, Monusco, of not helping the civilian population as the Congolese armed forces molested them.
This newspaper has independently verified reports of several civilians killed on Tuesday night when suspected Congolese military personnel attacked villages in Rutshuru.

“We left Rutshuru in the hands of Monusco. We told Monusco to protect the civilians and not to allow the Congolse army back in,” Bishop Runiga said.
Bishop Runiga said M23 had returned control of all areas it had captured to the Congolese police force and the Monusco peacekeeping force. He however noted that some of these areas had fallen back under the control of government forces who were now harassing civilians.

“The Goma agreement had political and military problems. The Congolese people have problems caused by bad leadership and the lack of vision. The M23 joins the Congolese people in fighting for their rights. The recent elections were not free and fair. The Congolese people are tired,” he said.

“It is in the best interest of President Kabila to call for talks. If he wants to talk, we are ready. If he wants war, we are ready,” he added.
Daily Monitor

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