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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May, 2005, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Ninja rebels end armed struggle
Ninja rebels (photo: Tom Craig)
Ninja fighters often wear purple
A Congolese renegade priest Pastor Ntumi has announced his Ninja fighters will disarm and his group will become a legitimate political party.

The Ninjas were founded from a militia group active in the civil wars of the late 1990s, originally loyal to former Prime Minister Bernard Kolelas.

A peace deal was signed in 2003 but Ntumi's fighters are still active in the country's southern Pool region.

Pastor Ntumi will spend 30 days touring Pool to talk to his fighters.

The announcement was made by the committee which is monitoring the implementation of the 2003 peace deal.

Michel Mampouya, from Mr Kolelas' Congolese Movement for Democracy and Integral Development party, welcomed the decision.

"If he transforms his armed resistance into a political fight, that can only be a good thing for the country," he said.

The former rebel chief is planning to put forward candidates to stand in the Pool region in legislative elections due later this year.

Pool was once known as the "breadbasket of the Congo" but civil war has devastated the area.

Surviving Congo's Ninja rebels
04 Dec 03 |  Africa
Congo peace deal signed
18 Mar 03 |  Africa
Country profile: Republic of Congo
09 Oct 03 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Republic of Congo
07 May 03 |  Country profiles

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