East African Community demands rebels in DRC release child soldiers

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

  • EAC Nairobi Process concludes with short-term peace targets for the DRC.
  • Armed militia groups to release child soldiers and sexual violence victims, are to get help.
  • DRC president tasked to engage the estimated 140 militia groups operating in communities.

The release of child soldiers, rehabilitation, and care for victims of sexual violence were some of the resolutions made at the third Inter-Congolese Dialogue on the restoration of peace in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that ended on Tuesday.

In a communique, the East African Community (EAC), which led the Nairobi process, said the facilitator, former president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, met with armed groups, civil society, and victims of sexual violence.

From the meetings, it was agreed that community leaders, DRC government officials, and officials from the EAC must form a committee to "facilitate the release of prisoners with no criminal records of atrocities and, or criminal convictions".

One of the many grievances in the DRC, where about 140 armed militias operate, is the resource curse, and, as such, there was a call for people in areas such as national parks to be part of conservation and sustainable economic activities.

DRC President Felix Tshisekedi was asked to engage communities in eco-friendly projects and conservation.

In Maniema province, the EAC agreed that Tshisekedi should meet with the local leadership, to "discuss how the community can be involved in and benefit from the mining industry in the region".

READ | 'I was raped every day' - former DR Congo hostages relieved to be reunited with family

Armed groups control a considerable portion of the DRC's natural resources. It was suggested that to avoid flaring of tempers that could degenerate into conflict, rebel leaders should be considered as stakeholders.

Tshisekedi has a huge task to hold consultations with the 145 "territories" in eastern DRC for them to have equal opportunities as the rest of the country.

These territories fall under local militia groups.

He will also have to engage with the international community to assist him to maintain peace in the DRC. 

For now, the priority was the release of child soldiers by all armed militia groups while the cessation of hostilities continued. It was said that humanitarian assistance should start flowing soon into communities that had been cut off by the conflict.

In January a review of the set targets will be made in Bunia, the capital city of Ituri province, and Goma, the capital of North Kivu.

From there, a medium and long-term roadmap will be put in place.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1629 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 8998 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1844 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.