African Leaders Call for Strengthened Military Intervention in DRC

MONUSCO peacekeepers (file photo).

THE Eighth High-Level Meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has recommended strengthening of MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade.

Heads of State and government who met at Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo have come with such a proposal for MONUSCO (The United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) with a view to adapting it to the new challenges in the fight against the negative forces operating in eastern DRC.

A communique released yesterday by Ambassador Innocent Shiyo from the Department of Regional Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said the leaders are after maintenance of military pressure and enhancement of operations against the armed groups, including in particular the ADF, FDLR,Kamuina Nsapu and other armed and terrorist groups that destabilise the DRC.

Under chairmanship of Republic of Congo President, Mr Denis Sassou Nguesso, the high-level meeting sent a strong and unequivocal message to all foreign disarmed combatants in the DRC, including FDLR and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), that there is no other option than to return to their countries of origin.

"The leaders called for completion of repatriation without pre-conditions of the FDLR disarmed combatants that are in the DRC transit camps of Kanyabayonga, Kisangani and Walungu, as well as the M23 former combatants that are still in Uganda and Rwanda, within the shortest time frame possible and not later than 20 October 2018 ... in this regard, direct that the follow-up mechanism, comprising the governments of the DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, MONUSCO and the guarantors of the PSC (Peace, Security and Cooperation) Framework, be reactivated and propose modalities to accelerate the repatriation of the disarmed combatants and their dependents," Ambassador Shiyo said in the final communique of the meeting.

The meeting that President John Magufuli was represented by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, called upon parties to ensure the situation of women and children in the FDLR transit camps in eastern DRC is addressed as a matter of urgency, including through encouraging UNHCR, UNICEF and other humanitarian actors to explore measures aimed at expediting their repatriation to Rwanda.

They called for action to be taken against those responsible for crimes against humanity, through investigations so that they are later brought to justice in line with the PSC Framework, the ICGLR Protocol on Judicial Cooperation and international law.

They noted that despite delays in its implementation, the 31 December 2016 political agreement remains the viable framework for ending the political crisis in the DRC and stressed the need to pursue the implementation of confidence building measures to create conditions conducive for the good conduct of the electoral process.

Ambassador Shiyo unveiled that the heads commended significant progress achieved in the voter registration process (42 million voters, out of the 45 million estimated, registered so far) and stressed the need for the early publication of a consensual electoral calendar and a budget as per the 31 December 2016 agreement and encouraged the government to ensure the passing of requisite electoral legislation.

It further condemned acts of violence against State agents, security forces and civilians, as well as human rights violations in the Kasaїs, took note of the DRC Government's efforts to investigate reports of human rights violations and to prosecute the alleged perpetrators, with the support of the United Nations team of international experts on the Kasaїs. The move comes after three Tanzanian soldiers serving with MONUSCO were killed between September and October, this year.

The slain Tanzanian UN peacekeepers include Private Mussa Jumanne Muryery who was killed by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in September and Corporal Maselino Paschal Fabusi and Private Venance Moses Chimboni who were killed this month after they were attacked by a group of rebels 24km from the town of Beni.

Tanzania has contributed uniformed UN peacekeepers in various parts of the world since 1995. It currently contributes peacekeepers in six UN missions in Africa and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

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