Regional leaders have asked DR Congo to accelerate the process of disarming all armed groups in the eastern part of the country as part of the essential condition for the resolution of conflict in eastern DR Congo, The New Times, Rwanda’s largest daily newspaper, reported on Sunday, June 4.
The call is part of the 16-point communique issued on June 3, at the end of the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
There are more than 130 Congolese and foreign armed groups operating in eastern DR Congo. The foreign armed groups include FDLR, a genocidal militia formed by remnants of the perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The FDLR is now embedded in the DR Congo national army, FARDC.
The ICGLR Summit encouraged the Congolese Government to accelerate the implementation of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Community Reintegration and Stabilization (P-DDRCS) Program, an essential condition for the resolution of the conflict in eastern DR Congo, noted in point 13 of the ICGLR summit communique.
Also, part of the decisions taken by the ICGLR summit is the emphasis on decisions of the Mini-Summit on Peace and Security in eastern DR Congo held in November 2022. By then, the mini-summit had ordered the FDLR to disarm immediately and embark on an “unconditional repatriation.”
To date, no action has ever been taken by the DR Congo government to disarm and repatriate the FDLR.
The latest ICGLR summit also reaffirmed the need to implement the decisions taken at another mini-summit held on Feb. 17 in Ethiopia. The latter summit noted the presence of DR Congo refugees in Rwanda and the urgent need for their safe repatriation back home.
There are nearly 80,000 Congolese refugees in Rwanda, some of whom have lived in refugee camps for over 25 years. The situation has recently worsened as more DR Congo refugees continue to flee to Rwanda over fighting in eastern DR Congo, particularly between the M23 rebels and the government coalition, which includes armed militia such as the FDLR terrorists.