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U.S. May Designate Laurent Nkunda's CNDP a Terrorist Organisation

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Congo News Agency - November 2, 2008

Laurent Nkunda
There are talks in Washington about adding warlord Laurent Nkunda's National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) to the United States list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). Washington has become increasingly frustrated with the warlord's actions in eastern Congo, which have caused the deaths and displacement of numerous innocent civilians.

Laurent Nkunda rebels have been accused of rapes, mass murders, attacks on refugee camps, and other war crimes and crimes against humanity by human rights organisations, humanitarian organisations, and the United Nations peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC).

President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13413 on October 31, 2006 freezing the assets of Laurent Nkunda because he had "committed serious violations of international law involving the targeting of children in situations of armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, and forced displacement".

The United States was deeply involved in the negotiations that led to the signing of the Goma Peace Accords by all warring parties in January of 2008. Laurent Nkunda has decided to abandon the Amani process, which is the framework laid out in the accords and supported by the international community, to peacefully resolve any grievances between the government and all armed groups.

The United States Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer, warned Laurent Nkunda and his rebels this week that "they should not go into Goma, they will be held accountable for actions taking place (there). They should return to a political process". Frazer also said that "We do not need a new agreement, we need agreements that are currently on the table to be implemented".

On October 6, 2008 the State Department said in a statement that the "The United States condemns and rejects the statements made by General Nkunda, leader of the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), claiming the CNDP intends to overthrow the elected and universally recognized Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo".

The same statement also said that "The Goma Agreement and the Nairobi Communiqué remain the only true viable framework to bring stability to eastern Congo. The signatories should respect their commitments and implement them swiftly".

The statement warned at the end that "The U.S. will work to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in eastern Congo and elsewhere".


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