Breakaway Tutsi rebel group declares ceasefire

A rebel Tutsi group that split last week from Laurent Nkunda's movement has declared a cessation of hostilities with DR Congo's government army. The announcement was made in the eastern city of Goma in front of Congo's interior minister.


REUTERS - Military commanders of the Congolese Tutsi rebel movement announced a cessation of hostilities on Friday with Democratic Republic of Congo's government army, a rebel military spokesman said.


The commanders from the Tutsi-dominated National Council for the Defence of the People (CNDP) made the announcement in the eastern city of Goma in the presence of the Congolese interior minister and Rwanda's top armed forces commander.


"We, members of the high command of the CNDP forces, in the name of the officers and the fighters, solemnly declare before God, the whole Congolese people, Africa and the world ... from this day, January 16, 2009 onwards, the cessation of hostilities between the CNDP and the FARDC (Congolese armed forces)," said the rebel spokesman, Col. Esaie Munyakazi.


The CNDP commanders said they were placing their forces at the disposal of the Congolese army high commmand "with a view to them being reintegrated into the national army".


They were led by General Bosco Ntaganda, the top CNDP military commander who last week broke with the Tutsi rebel movement's founder, General Laurent Nkunda. It was not immediately clear whether Nkunda supported the announcement of the cessation of hostilities made by these commanders.


Before this split, CNDP fighters routed the government army late last year in an offensive in Congo's eastern province of North Kivu that displaced a quarter of a million civilians and created a humanitarian emergency.



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