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April 11, 2012

President Joseph Kabila held a two-hour meeting with army officers based in North and South Kivu provinces on Tuesday to insist on military discipline and cohesion.

The head of state arrived in Goma on Monday to deal with the security threat posed by the defections of former CNDP rebels integrated into the army under a peace deal.

DR Congo’s Army Chief of Staff, General Didier Etumba, said after the meeting that the mutinous soldiers will be dealt with according to military justice.

Soldiers must behave as citizens who respect the Congolese nation, General Etumba said. He added that those who do not comply with military regulations will be sanctioned individually according to their responsibilities in the mutiny even if they surrender.

Many of the defectors have begun surrendering as the Congolese army deployed reinforcements to the region after the defections began last week. Radio Okapi reported that 80 defectors surrendered with their commanders on Monday.

The fate and whereabouts of General Bosco Ntaganda remain unclear. The former CNDP rebel leader, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is said to have instigated the rebellion fearing an arrest amid increasing calls for Congolese authorities to hand him over to the ICC.