Congo rebel revival endangers elections: ambassador to U.N

KINSHASA – The Democratic Republic of Congo has told the United Nations that a re-emergence of the M23 rebellion in the east is endangering a deal with the opposition intended to lead to a presidential election this year.

President Joseph Kabila is meant to step down after the election under the agreement, which defused unrest prompted by his failure to step down as his mandate ended in December.

In a letter to the president of the U.N. Security Council, Congo’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ignace Gata Mavita, detailed a series of M23 incursions that began in November and accelerated last month.

“It goes without saying that this situation risks diverting the attention of the government, which would have to devote available financial means to face this war,” he wrote to Sweden’s Olof Skoog, the council’s president for January, in a letter dated Jan. 27 and seen by Reuters on Friday.

He said the fiscal strain would imperil the political agreement and “perturb the electoral process itself”.

Lack of money was one of the reasons cited by Kabila’s government for its failure to hold elections last year as scheduled.

M23 was eastern Congo’s most powerful rebel group until its defeat by Congolese and U.N. forces in 2013. Many of its fighters fled into neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda, where they have been kept in camps.

The rebels accuse Kinshasa of dragging its feet on promises to repatriate them under the terms of a peace deal.

Source: Angola Press News Agency