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DRC - interview

Nkunda accuses army of looting, calls for peace talks

Article published on the 2008-10-31 Latest update 2008-10-31 09:29 TU

Laurent Nkunda(Photo: AFP)

Laurent Nkunda
(Photo: AFP)

Rebel DRC General Laurent Nkunda accused government troops of looting and killing in an interview with RFI on Thursday evening. His troops are camped outside the capital of North Kivu province, Goma, as diplomats continued to discuss the recent violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Interview: Laurent Nkunda

31/10/2008 by Matthew Kay

Nkunda accused Congolese army forces of "looting and robbing and killings" when most of them moved out of the town this week, claiming that the city is now calm.

And he accused the DRC government of arming foreign rebel groups, which he described as "negative forces coming from neighbouring countries".

Nkunda named the FDLR and Interahmwe, Rwandan Hutu militias currently based in DRC, Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the National Liberation Forces (FNL) from Burundi. He described the alleged support for them as "a betrayal".

He claimed that the unilateral ceasefire declared by his rebel group, the CNDP, is "only because of the social humanitarian situation", adding, "Even this morning (Thursday) I asked Monuc [the UN forces in DRC] so we can get back these internal displaced people."

Nkunda called for peace talks around "a neutral mediator" saying that his goal was "only security for Congo, only a vision for the future of Congo".

"I'm alive," was the rebel general's response to reports that he had died.

Britain yesterday said it was too early to decide if extra troops could be sent to the DRC, but that a strengthening of the UN force was still a prospect. Monuc, said on Thursday that it was "stretched to the limit" but that it was trying to redeploy troops to the east of the country from other parts of the DRC.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday spoke with Rwandan President Paul Kagame by telephone, after her deputy, Jendayi Frazer, met DRC President Laurent Kabila in Kinshasa on Thursday. The US is said to be concerned at DRC accusations that Rwanda is supporting Nkunda's rebels.

European Union humanitarian aid commissioner Louis Michel meets Kagame on Friday in Kigali, having met Kaibla yesterday.