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DRC Rebel Leader Accuses Government of Breaking Ceasefire Agreement

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VOA News - October 9, 2007

Clottey Interview with General Laurent Nkunda audio clip
Listen to Clottey Interview with General Laurent Nkunda audio clip

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the leader of the rebel National Congress for the People's Defense, General Laurent Nkunda has dismissed as propaganda government reports that he broke the over a month old ceasefire agreement. Nkunda said his forces were the first to be attacked by government soldiers, before his group returned fire. He said he had instructed his forces to be in active defense, but not to go on the offensive against government troops, unless they are attacked. Nkunda is now accusing the government of trying to plunge the country into war.

From the North Kivu Province, General Nkunda tells reporter Peter Clottey that, President Joseph Kabila's government would have blood on their hands if they persistently refuse to come to the negotiating table to talk peace.

"Of course the peace agreement was negotiated by the UN forces, but on our side we accepted it since September 6th. But on the side of the government, when President Kabila was in Goma the last time, he said that he didn't know anything about the ceasefire, and for many times that ceasefire was broken by the FRDC (Front de Résistance pour la Défense du Congo) soldiers, government soldiers I say," Nkunda noted.

Nkunda said he had instructed his forces not to be on the offensive against government troops unless they are attacked first.

"Now, we were in defensive for many times. We were attacked around 10 times and there was no reaction. Now, we say we cannot continue to wait the government attacks without reacting. I said to my troops to have an active defense, to be active even in the defensive operations," Nkunda explained.

He said he informs the UN mission in the democratic Republic of Congo any time his forces are attacked by government troops.

"Yes, I was reporting to them each time they knew that we were attacked. And when we were attacked I was calling MONUC and informed them, they are aware of that. But I think they have negotiated for many times with the government side, but without any response," he pointed out.

Nkunda said his troops would continue to protect innocent civilians in the area, despite his suspicion that the government might be getting help from other rebel forces.

"You see, now FDR are working now with FRDC. The FRDR are those Rwanda genocidaires, so they are working together. And they are coming near our position and near the population who are being targeted I want to say about Tutsis. We cannot allow them to kill the people. We are going to defend the people, we are going to be in active defense," Nkunda stressed.

He accused the government of failing to come to the peace table and gradually plunging the country into war, but not him and the troops under his command.

"I think they are the ones who are doing that because now, its one month of ceasefire expected and observed by our troops. But them, when we were talking they were attacking our positions in Massisi and in Mweso using FDR, mai-mai and government troops. So, I think they are the ones who want to push the country into a bloodbath, and they would be responsible for that because they refuse to talk, they refuse negotiations," he said.


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