Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said that the government of DR Congo should negotiate with the M23 rebel group, which launched a renewed offensive in May this year.
Speaking at a press conference, Museveni also said Congo-based foreign militias, such as the ADF from Uganda, FDLR from Rwanda and RED-Tabara from Burundi, will not repatriate peacefully. “We shall force them,” he said.
He said that over 120 of local groups operating in eastern Congo “came up because of the vacuum of power there.”
“For the M23, it is part of the other Congolese groups; there are M23,
Mai Mai, CODECO…,” he said, adding that the local groups “should be negotiated with.”
In respect to resolutions of the November summit of regional leaders in Luanda, the M23 recently began withdrawing from some key positions in North Kivu province, a move the group said was “done in the name of peace.”
The Luanda summit also ordered the foreign armed groups, like the ADF which launched attacks on Ugandan territory this month, to disarm and unconditionally repatriate to their countries of origin.
However, President Museveni believes the armed groups will not respect the calls.
The Ugandan army has been fighting the Islamist ADF rebels in Ituri province.
“The groups like the ADF will not come back peacefully. We shall force them,” Museveni said.
“Like we have seen recently, because we are hitting them badly in eastern Congo, recently they tried to come back through Ntoroko; you saw what happened to them the whole group was wiped out.”
For the foreign armed groups, Museveni said: “We are encouraging the Congolese government to negotiate with them to bring them back peacefully to normal life and if they refuse then we shall use force on them.”