M23 Ex-Leader Renounces Rebel Activity


02 May 2013

Photo: M23 leader Jean-Marie Runiga told reporters in Goma on Tuesday that the rebels would withdraw from Goma if President Joseph Kabila agreed to their demands, a statement the Congolese government was quick to dismiss as a farce. (James Akena/Reuters)

Sources confirmed that Runiga himself signed an oath willingly. “I Jean Maria Rugerero Runiga, hereby willingly and permanently renounce all political activities that can be associated to armed groups… ”

Jean Maria Runiga Rugerero and thousands of other rebel members had fled to Rwanda in thousands as an M23 breakaway rebel faction.

The group that has been offered an asylum in Rwanda has with their former boss as stated declared to the diplomatic mission in Rwanda and international agencies that they have voluntarily abandoned rebellion, political activities with such connections and were asking that the UN refugee agency grant them refugee status.

In March 2013, serious fighting broke- out between M23 two rebel faction whereas one group allegedly led by Brigadier Gen. Sultani Makenga led to 1,500 people, with 682 rebel fighters, led by ex-political leader Runiga, to seek asylum to the neighbouring country Rwanda.

Runiga and other ex- rebel officers namely Colonel Innocent Zimurinda and Brig. Gen Bauduoin Ngaruye among others have told the UN that it would be favourable to hasten the process of granting them refugee status, saying that they were feeling uneasy to continue living in camps.

According to Rwanda Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs Seraphine Mukantabana, the country is party to the international convention governing these issues and all the process will be in respect to the convention, which means that DRC should not have a problem. The Minister was responding to questions by diplomats on what would be the implication of status change by the ex-combatants to the DRC.

Regarding the rumour that had been spread around alleging some former rebels to have fled back to the Eastern Congo to join their associates, the Minister told Diplomats and Media people that there was nothing like that as they saw that everyone was in the camp including former leader Jean Maria Runiga.

Upon completion of the whole process and if it all goes well that refugee status is given to the ex-combatants, they will be granted permission move freely or taken to refugee camps in different parts of the country; depending on suitable arrangement in that nature.


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