- The Kinshasa government has agreed to release members of the country’s dominant rebel group National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) captured by government forces after the group signed a peace deal on Monday, a government official has said.
The agreement among others provides for the transformation of the CNDP, a group based in the northern Democratic Republic of Congo, into a political party and also agreed to pass an amnesty law for the former rebels and integrate them into various state security agencies.
CNDP chief, Desire Kamanzi, said both parties have thoroughly discussed the amnesty saying the government has also expressed commitment to give amnesty to all fighters that took up arms against the government since 2003.
Mr Kamanzi said CNDP wants the release of all the prisoners in different towns and cities of DRC, saying the group has a list of those detained and which the government had agreed to release.
"We have a number of activities lined up, this include the return of refugees from the neighbouring countries and a mid-term review in which the government and us have agreed to do with our joint commission,” he said.
The north Kivu capital Goma has seen fierce fighting since August 2008 between government forces and CNDP, trying to capture the town.
The CNDP was previously led by renegade Tutsi general Laurent Nkunda and began its uprising in the Kivu hills in June 2003. But in January of this year its leadership went over to the Kinshasa's side.
Since the defection of the CNDP leadership and the arrest of Mr Nkunda in Rwanda in January the situation in Nord-Kivu has stabilised. But problems posed by another rebel group remain, reports have said.
Earlier this year, a joint operation by the Rwandan and Congolese military over five weeks drove Rwandan Hutu rebels of the Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to the west and north of the province, but failed to end the threat they pose.
The renewed attacks just few weeks ago by Rwandan Hutu rebels in Nord-Kivu have forced nearly 30,000 people to flee their homes, the UN refugee agency has said last Friday.
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