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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 April, 2003, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
DR Congo rebels due in capital
Congo rebels (library picture)
The rebels will have their own armed guards
The leader of the main rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo has said that it will send its delegates to the capital, Kinshasa, to take part in the new transitional government.

Adolphe Onusumba of the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma rebels told the BBC that the organisation's vice president, Azarias Ruberwa will be in Kinshasa by the end of this week to serve as one of the four vice-presidents under Joseph Kabila.

In a peace agreement reached last December and endorsed early this month, President Joseph Kabila keeps his post, while rebels and the civilian opposition get vice-presidential posts in a two-year transitional authority.

The other delegate travelling with the RDC-Goma vice president is its military commander, Jean Pierre Ondekana, who will be joining the new military high command to oversee the transition of all the rebel forces into the new national army.

Security and genocide

Doubts had been expressed about the participation of the RCD-Goma rebels because of complaints over their security and the appointment this week by Mr Kabila of Yerodia Abdoulaye Ndombasi as his vice president.

A former foreign minister and chief of staff during the rule of Mr. Kabila's late father, Mr Ndomasi was, in 2002, charged and later cleared in a Belgium court of inciting racial hatred and genocide against the Tutsis.

The rebel group condemned the decision to appoint him as "an obstacle to peace".

But speaking to the BBC's Focus on Africa programme, the rebel leader said that they were now satisfied that the United Nations had been given the authority to assure their security in the capital.

"There is no question of us not going to Kinshasa unless there is a new threat that puts us in danger," Mr Onusumbo said.

Personnel bodyguards

He said their delegates will be travelling from their base in north east of Congo under the protection of both the UN and their own personal armed body guards.

The two delegates, he said , will have 15 security personnel each.

"They are not going for combat, they are going on a special mission to protect people," Mr Onusumba told the programme.

Last week, President Kabila signed an amnesty law pardoning some acts of war committed since the start of the conflict more than four years ago.

The amnesty pardons the rebels for attempting to topple the Kinshasa government, but does not cover any war crimes committed during this period.

The rebels have also been amnestied for aligning themselves to foreign countries who had invaded the national territory.

More than three million people are estimated to have died as a result of the war which began in 1998, making it the "tragedy of modern times", according to a report out earlier this month.

At one stage the conflict dragged in half a dozen foreign armies.

DR Congo peace deal signed
02 Apr 03  |  Africa
Uganda-Rwanda tension mounts
17 Mar 03  |  Africa

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