DRC rebels miss SA disarmament deadline

2015-01-04 10:20

Johannesburg - The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) have missed the deadline set by the Southern African Development Community to voluntarily disarm themselves, it said on Saturday.

"The deadline set by the heads of state and government of SADC... for the FDLR to disarm voluntarily or face military action expired yesterday, 2 January 2015," SADC chairman President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

A joint summit by the SADC heads of states would be held in Luanda, Angola to decide on the appropriate action to be taken.

Zuma urged the FDLR to come forward and disarm themselves unconditionally.

"SADC remains committed to the internationally mandated objective of neutralising all negative forces operating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the FDLR, and remains ready to play its fullest part in this regard," he said.

Ongoing war

The east of the DRC has been a conflict area for two decades, French news agency AFP reported last month.

It was the scene of two major wars between 1996 and 2003, with neighbouring countries including Uganda and Rwanda intervening directly or using militias to do their bidding.

In spite of the presence of 20 000 UN peacekeepers, around 50 Congolese and foreign armed groups are still active in the region.

As part of accords signed in February 2013 to bring peace to the Great Lakes region, Kinshasa promised to overhaul its armed forces and promote national reconciliation and democratic reform.

Last Sunday 151 FDLR combatants disarmed voluntarily and 67 weapons were handed over in the North and South Kivu provinces.

"This brings the total number of combatants who have disarmed since May 2014 to 337 and the number of weapons handed over to 234," Zuma said.

This was approximately 24% of the FDLR's total armed members.

  • Jacques Otto - 2015-01-04 19:05

    Why would the Rebels adhere to these demands....SADC leaders including Zuma family has investments in DRC extracting wealth and occupying ownership of land and rights. Secondly RSA army is no threat to any liberation, rebel or government force in Africa

      Franky Mark - 2015-01-04 22:45

      Jacques, you are half way right. The Inga Dam project in the DRC can deliver up to 70% of Africa's ( hydro) electricity, that is why the UN has decided to follow an aggressive peace plan by attacking all the rebel groups that " stand in the way of progress" The problem with your statement is taking a cheap stab at our armed forces, yes it is not even close to the SADF of old. They face loads of problems, be it monetary, logistical,health, leadership or political. The truth of the matter is that these guys are doing a sterling job under very difficult conditions, they have already ticked M23 of the list. The biggest of the threats in the DRC, not a small accomplishment if you consider the terrain the logistics. This is not a conventional war, so our strengths in armoured vehicles is almost cancelled out. If you consider the size of the DRC to the size of our force we are doing well. I salut the people that are still prepared to serve.

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