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February 24, 2024
News Politics

M23 rebels welcome ceasefire ahead of DR Congo elections

The M23 rebel group has agreed to honour a three-day US-brokered ceasefire deal with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s army.

The group’s spokesman, Lawrence Kanyuka, said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter) that the rebels accepted the deal “since it is in line with the M23’s existing signed ceasefire of 7 March 2023”.

The rebel group had not consulted about the deal before its completion, according to Mr Kanyuka.

Despite agreeing to the ceasefire, the M23 said they would “not hesitate” to defend themselves – and the civillian populations under their control – from the army or government-allied militia.

The ceasefire began on Monday midday, according to a statement by US National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

It comes one week ahead of hotly contested elections in the central African country. Authorities have said voting cannot take place in the eastern territories of Rutshuru and Masisi, as they are in the grip of the conflict with the M23.

And on Tuesday, the electoral commission announced that those displaced by the conflict will also not be able to vote.

Previous ceasefire deals between the rebels and army have been breached, leading to fresh fighting.

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