DRC Opposition Group wants Territorial Integrity
By Ruth Nabakwe
October 22, 2002
The Committee of Resistance, Territorial Integrity and a State of Rights (CRID), a Paris-based resistance movement of the Democratic Republic of Congo has reiterated its commitment towards assisting the Mai Mai to peacefully ensure that the territorial integrity of the country is respected in keeping with the norms of international conventions.
A spokesman of the group Nestor Ngaba said in an interview Monday that the group shared the spirit of the Mai Mai, which was to promote peace between the various ethnic groups in the Eastern parts of a territorially secure DRC and not vengeance against the Rwandan backed rebels of the Rally for Democracy RCD-Goma.
"I urge the RCD - Goma to understand that armed fighting can only be to their disadvantage in the DRC as they do not enjoy popular support among the Congolese population and because they have never had any other armed support except from Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda. Such a form of existence by proxy can only lead to more loss of human lives incompatible with the values of respect for human dignity that they pretend to be fighting to defend," Ngaba said.
He urged the RCD-Goma rebels to lay down their arms and join the Congolese population in defining the way forward for the country where the rights of all Congolese, irrespective of ethnic differences, were respected as long as they acted and behaved like Congolese and not "puppets of neighbouring foreign countries".
While CRID would neither support popular justice nor vengeance as a way of punishing those who plunged the country into untold suffering and misery, the resistance group spokesman said it favoured an approach where the matter was left to a free and independent judiciary to decide the fate of those who participated in the mass killings of millions of innocent Congolese for selfish egoistic interests.
The CRID resistance movement enjoyed strong support among several Mai Mai groups and the population in the Eastern parts of the DRC including areas controlled by the RCD-Goma rebels.
Commenting on the recent fighting between the Mai Mai and the RCD-Goma rebels the CRID spokesman denied that the Mai Mai were in any way connected to the interahamwe militias largely accused of being behind the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.
According to him, CRID supported the Mai Mai who were exercising the legitimate ‘’right of a people to resist against oppression and occupation’’ of their country by rebel forces bent on turning the Congolese people into servants of neighbouring countries.
Ngaba said the Mai Mai’s major concern was to ensure that the DRC regained its integrity as a sovereign state and was in no way interested in the destabilization of neighbouring states.
"The withdrawal of the Rwandan troops from the DRC would be meaningless if the Congolese allow the RCD-Goma rebels to continue to take control of the Eastern parts of the DRC on behalf of Rwanda, Congo is a sovereign state and will not accept to be controlled by proxy for the benefit of Kigali," he asserted.
"It was for that reason that CRID has refused to participate in the collective naivety and together with the Mai Mai was working to take control of our frontiers in order to guarantee the national unity and territorial integrity of Congo", he added stating that the Congolese would never allow the RCD-Goma rebels to "behave as though the DRC was a conquered territory for the Rwandans".
He said it was in the interest of the RCD-Goma rebels to work for peace with the Congolese as the only guarantee towards lasting security for them and their Rwandan backers.
Ngaba pointed out that CRID was opposed to other foreign rebel groups using the DRC as a launching pad to destabilize neighbouring countries such as Rwanda or Uganda and was favourably disposed towards assisting them to find peaceful solutions to their problems.
After years of atrocities and suffering caused to innocent Congolese citizens by foreign backed rebel groups, Ngaba said the main preoccupation of Congolese was peace for all and not score-settling.
The CRID spokesman welcomed the US President George W. Bush’s resolute determination to ensure that UN Security Council resolutions on the withdrawal of Rwandan, Burundian and Ugandan troops from the DRC. Ngaba however expressed concern about reports Monday which cited a new UN report which lambasted these foreign troops of having left behind in the Congo illegal networks that would guarantee their continued plunder of DRC resources.
Media reports said Monday that the UN Security Council was expected to study the new report with a view of dismantling such illegal networks in the Congo.
The CRID spokesman urged the international community to support President Bush’s initiative for a return to peace in the DRC and the entire Great Lakes region by concerted defence of democratic and humane values that were currently being flouted with abandon against innocent civilians by the Rwandan backed RCD-Goma rebels in the DRC.