UN calls on militants in eastern DR Congo to ‘immediately cease’ civilian attacks

UN peacekeepers escort surrendered M23 fighters in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Photo: MONUSCO

The UN issued a statement on Saturday calling for attacks on civilians by multiple armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to “immediately cease”.

Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the UN was “concerned over the deteriorating security situation…and the increase of attacks against civilians by the Cooperative for Development of the Congo (CODECO) and the M23 as well as the on-going presence of other foreign armed groups, including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Red Tabara and the Forces Démocratique pour la libération de Rwanda (FDLR), which continue to pose a threat to regional stability.”

The FDLR is a largely Rwandan Hutu armed group operating inside DRC, some of whose members took part in the 1994 genocide, and Rwanda has reportedly alleged that the Congolese army has been collaborating with it, in the border area.

Disarm, demobilze

The violence must end, he said, urging armed militants to begin participating “unconditionally” in the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program (P-DDRCS), and called on “foreign armed groups to immediately disarm and return to their countries of origin.”

“We reaffirm our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the DRC and strongly condemn the use of proxies”, Mr. Dujarric added.

The increase in attacks across the volatile region was the focus of a Security Council meeting at the end of last month. The brutal M23 rebel group – which began as a renegade force of army mutineers in 2012 committing many atrocities and war crimes – have launched their biggest offensive against Government forces in a decade, according to news reports.

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