M23 says it will 'fight back' against UN

DR Congo rebel leader, Bertrand Bisimwa, welcomes peace talks but rejects "foreign interference" in M23 controlled area.

    M23 says it will 'fight back' against UN
    M23 has been holding rallies in Rutshuru and Kiwanja to win popular support in the areas it controls [Reuters]

    The president of the Congolese rebel group, M23, says it will fight back against a new UN "intervention brigade" if
    it entered the M23 controlled areas.

    Speaking to Al Jazeera, Bertrand Bisimwa on Friday rejected any "foreign interference" in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    The UN brigade last month approved and authorised to use force to end the rebellion.

    Bisimwa told Al Jazeera that this position did not indicate a change from its earlier policies to defend seized territory from any group that threatens peace.

    Welcoming the resumption of peace talks in Kampala, he said the country's problems could only be solved by Congolese alone.

    "If UN forces come and attack us they will find us here and if they [are] against us, we will fight," said Bisimwa.

    Rebel group M23 has also, over the past few weeks, been holding rallies - telling people that they are safe, and should not be concerned about harassment from its soldiers - to win popular support in eastern areas of the country that it had taken by force.

    The group has held rallies in the towns of Rutshuru and Kiwanja, and has planned further rallies in villages across the region.

    The Intervention Brigade is to be made up of 2,000-3,000 troops from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania, and is
    mandated to operate "in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner" to ensure that armed groups cannot seriously
    threaten government authority or the security of civilians.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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