Nairobi talks disrupted over spying suspicions

AA / Kinshasa / Pascal Mulegwa

Discussions between Kinshasa and representatives of armed groups active in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) were interrupted on Thursday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, for “prudential” reasons, the Congolese authorities announced.

“This Thursday afternoon the work stopped for a moment (…) It was noted among the participants, people without mandate, quality and title having obtained accreditations. And yet, the
lists of participants according to the organizations (Presidency, Armed Groups, Community Leaders and Civil Society) were well established and validated several weeks before the start of the work”, underlines a report of the Congolese presidency.

“These people not otherwise identified were transported to Nairobi by uncontrolled means”, informs the presidential team which “was also intrigued by a series of attitudes and facts on the part of the technical teams responsible for the translation, sound recording and other filming”.

Verification made, “this material belongs to a structure of a neighboring country not concerned by the talks between Congolese”, concludes the Congolese team.

Serge Tshibangu special representative of President Félix Tshisekedi for these negotiations demanded and obtained the dismantling of this equipment and its replacement by others which would come from Kinshasa, we learn from the Congolese presidency.

This work stoppage should allow the cleaning of the lists and the validation of the mandates, according to the organizers. The Kenyan authorities have not commented on this incident.

Opened on Monday, the negotiations were to enter an in-depth phase on Thursday to be closed on Friday.

About fifty armed groups out of a hundred active in eastern Congo are taking part in the negotiations under the facilitation of the former Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta.

The armed groups are calling in particular for amnesty, integration into government forces for some and social reintegration for others.

The Congolese national assembly prohibited, last November, the government from enshrining any integration of former rebels into the ranks of the army or the police.

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