- Title: DR CONGO/FILE: Congolese government and CNDP Tutsi rebels sign peace agreement
- Date: 26th March 2009
- Summary: GOMA, DR CONGO (FILE - FEBRUARY 25, 2009) (REUTERS) SOLDIERS WITH RWANDAN AND DRC FLAGS VARIOUS SHOTS, RWANDAN SOLDIERS MARCHING TOWARDS BORDER WITH RWANDA
- Embargoed: 10th April 2009 13:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA5IGXH7UXB9A61SJ82I5JPBT5N
- Story Text: One of the main rebel groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) signed a peace deal this week with the DR Congo government, that would allow it to become a political party.
The agreement between the Congolese government and the new National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), a Tutsi rebel group formerly led by General Laurent Nkunda, also calls for the release of former rebels held by government forces.
Nigeria's former president and DRC peace mediator, Olusegun Obasanjo witnessed the signing in the eastern city of Goma.
"Today you're putting behind you, the culture of warlordism, the culture of violence, and you're embracing the culture of peace. I pray that this peace may hold, I pray that this agreement that you have signed today will not just be another sense of agreement. I pray that this agreement will energise you and entice your friends and development partners and those who want to see the Democratic Republic of the Congo to be a source of truth, we energise them to continue to support you," Obasanjo said.
The arrest of Nkunda, a renegade army general, on 22 January in neighbouring Rwanda, forced the CNDP into negotiations.
The situation in northeastern DR Congo remains tense as conflict continues among other rebel groups and the government.
The United Nations refugee agency said last week that attacks by the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda) have displaced nearly 30,000 people in the past two weeks.
The FDLR includes perpetrators of Rwanda's 1994 genocide.
In January, a five-week joint operation by the Congolese and Rwandan armies was conducted to root out the FDLR.
Though the military effort pushed the FDLR out of strongholds across the troubled province and led to more than 100 surrenders.
But the FDLR have already returned to some positions filling a power vacuum left behind by the joint force.
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