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Dissident wing of MLC formed

A group claiming to comprise the original members of the Ugandan-backed Mouvement de liberation du Congo (MLC) rebel movement has declared the creation of a new faction to be known as MLC-Renove.

The group issued a communique on Tuesday in which it denounced Uganda's influence on the MLC, accusing Uganda of pillaging the Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) natural resources, and of dictatorship. It also accuses those it calls the sponsors of rebellion in the DRC, namely neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, of massacres.

"[The MLC-Renove]... condemns to the highest degree the presence of the Ugandan and Rwandan armies on our territory, and condemns the various massacres and deprivations of our peaceful citizens for which they, together with their Congolese agents, are responsible" Freddy Libeba Baongoli, a former political officer of the MLC, said in the statement he signed.

Delegates of the MLC now working on the drafting of a new national constitution have denied that there is any dissidence within their movement, stating that the MLC-Renove dissidents have never been recognised as members of the MLC.

The MLC-Renove, which has announced its existence after having remained underground for some time, claimed that the MLC had deviated from its main objective, which was to free the Congolese people from the dictatorship of the Alliance des forces democratiques pour la liberation du Congo-Zaire, the politico-military movement supported by Rwanda and Uganda which brought Laurent-Desire Kabila to power in 1997.

The MLC-Renove also stated that the MLC was supposed to fulfil its mission to rescue the Congolese people from poverty, and reunite and democratise the entire country, but that "this objective is no longer respected". The group added that it would adhere to the Sun City accord signed in April at the conclusion of the inter-Congolese dialogue.

Under that agreement, the Kinshasa government of DRC President Joseph Kabila agreed to a power-sharing arrangement with the MLC, a majority of unarmed political opposition groups, civil society organisations, and dissident factions of the pro-Rwandan Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) armed opposition movement. The MLC leader, Jean-Pierre Bemba, would serve as prime minister of a transitional government leading to democratic elections.

Kinshasa has also recently reached separate agreements with Rwanda and Uganda for the total withdrawal of their forces from DRC territory.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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