News24

DRC soldiers join mutiny

2012-06-24 14:43

Goma - More than 100 soldiers including two senior officers have quit the army in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to join a mutinous armed force known as M23, the mutineers said on Saturday.

The deserters were all members of a former rebel movement, the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), who were integrated into the army in 2009 after a peace pact, M23 spokesperson Vianney Kazarama told AFP.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende denied the report and claimed the M23 was a fake movement created to hide Bosco "Terminator" Ntaganda, a renegade general and former rebel leader who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for using child soldiers.

"There's an office that invents rumours to demoralise our troops. If we must count the number of times they've claimed that units have joined their ranks, there wouldn't be a single soldier left in the armed forces," he told AFP. "Experts in a neighbouring country invented the M23 to hide Ntaganda."

Mende would not accuse a specific country, but DR Congo on Wednesday warned the UN Security Council that evidence of Rwandan involvement in the mutiny meant the crisis was "evolving dangerously toward a rupture of the peace" between the two neighbours.

A UN panel of experts on DR Congo has prepared a report for a UN sanctions committee that diplomats say supports the accusations against Rwanda.