Congo: Government, rebels reafirm commitment to peace

News and Press Release
Originally published
BRAZZAVILLE, 18 March (IRIN) - Ninja rebels and the government of the Republic of Congo (ROC) have entered into a new commitment to restore peace in the crisis-torn Pool region.
In a declaration issued in the capital, Brazzaville, on Monday, a spokesman for the Ninja rebel leader, the Rev Frederic Bitsangou, alias Pasteur Ntoumi, agreed to end hostilities, disarm his fighters, and enable the restoration of state authority in Pool.

At the same time, Minister of State Isidore Mvouba said the government would guarantee an amnesty offered to the rebels. He said ex-combatants would be reintegrated into the national army and included in a special committee to be formed to establish peace in Pool.

Conflict erupted in the Pool region between government forces and Ninja rebels loyal to Ntoumi in late March 2002.

Tens of thousands of people were forced to flee the region, while the fighting there trapped many more. Those who managed to escape were usually able to receive relief support, but humanitarian access to the vast majority left behind in Pool has been sporadic if not impossible


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