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Congolese government signs ceasefire agreement with Pool rebels

Republic of the Congo

The Congolese government has today signed a ‘ceasefire and cessation of hostilities’ agreement with rebels in Pastor Ntumi’s restive Pool region,according to AFP.

Congolese Interior Minister Raymond Zéphyrin Mboulou oversaw the signing of the agreement with representatives of former rebel leader Frédéric Bintsamou, aka Pasteur Ntumi, who led a rebellion against the government in April 2016.

“The agreement comes into force today” (Saturday), said a representative of the rebels, Jean-Gustave Ntondo, Secretary General of the National Council of Republicans (CNR), the political formation of Pastor Ntumi.

The agreement comes into force today

The rebels of Pool, a fertile area south of Brazzaville, took up arms challenging the re-election of President Denis Sassou Nguesso in April 2016.

Running behind closed doors and operating out of media presence, rebel attacks and the military response have put 138,000 people in difficult humanitarian situations in this Central African country of just five million people.

In July this year, the United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs appealed for emergency aid of up to $23.7 million to aid persons caught in the insecure region.

The violence also stopped operations of the Congo-Ocean railroad between Brazzaville and Pointe Noire, the main axis of the country.

The conflict prevented the holding of parliamentary elections in July in nine of the Pool’s fourteen constituencies.

According to this agreement, the Reverend Pastor Ntumi Bintsamou Frédéric undertakes to “facilitate the collection of weapons held by ex-combatants” and to “create no obstacle” to the restoration of state authority in the Department of Pool .

The government is committed to guarantee “the process of demobilisation, professional reintegration, social and economic ex-combatants after the collection of weapons”.

Brazzaville also wants to guarantee “the resettlement of populations in their localities of origin” and the “free movement of people, goods and services in the department of Pool”.

A joint commission will be set up for the implementation of the agreement.

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