By Nkonge I Kaggwa in Kampala and Diana S Katabarwa in Rutshuru
The Marche 23 (M23) Movement fighting the regime of President Joseph Kabila in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has denied it has any interest breaking up this vast country by creating another country within the DRC, one of the largest countries in the world. Speaking to journalists in Kampala, Rene Abandi, the spokesman of the M23 and chief of the M23 delegation at the now abandoned Kampala peace talks, said their struggle is aimed at liberating the whole country and seeking for solutions to unite it.
Reports have been emerging that the renegade rebel group is set to penalize 13 people after being tried for crimes committed within the areas of jurisdiction of the M23. The trials were seen as an attempt by the guerilla movement to establish their own laws in the area that they occupy
Explaining the reason for the trial of these men, Mr Abandi said: “We want to offer services to our people. We need to administer and can’t have people who are unruly, stealing, raping women and other crimes.” The 13 people were tried in courts of law established by the M23. Abandi said: “We try our soldiers and cadres whenever they commit any crime. That’s why they are disciplined and we want a peaceful society. Whenever we do something good for our people, the Kinshasa government views it negatively yet they can’t offer services to the people.” He says “they are saying that we are in support of impunity, but we are trying the rogue elements within our society and the only way to do that is, such people to go for trial we are practicing justice and the laws we are using is that of Kinshasa not our own laws”.
He added that people in the eastern DRC are in dire need of services which the Kabila regime has failed to offer in the past decades. He said these include vaccination, education among other services which they are trying to offer for their people. “Our country has turned out to be a den and hub of many forces like the LRA, ADF among other forces. If they come like refugees that can be okay. Indeed our people cannot guarantee peace if there is such an environment.”