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UN Envoy Urges Rebels to Break From Armed Groups

Mar 11, 2014 3:32 PM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... The head of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, MONUSCO, warned rebel fighters in the diamond-rich country to surrender without delay and to join the disarmament process or face  consequences.

MONUSCO's special representative, Martin Kobler, spoke directly to  Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, known as FDLR, calling upon them to immediately break from their leaders or they will be forcibly disarmed. Rebel groups may  join the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reinsertion and reintegration process that is underway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

The country has been periodically torn apart by civil wars and factional fighting since it became independent from Belgium in 1960 and violence again escalated in the past year, displacing thousands. MONUSCO brokered a peace deal between the government and the M23 early this year, but now other groups threaten the region's stability.  The UN mission has restored peace for much of the country over the past decade.

Kobler also welcomed the launch of the Congolese Armed Forces’ (FARDC) new operations against the FDLR and affiliated armed groups. The offensive is supported by MONUSCO, which last year was authorized by the Security Council to deploy an intervention brigade to carry out targeted offensive operations, with or without FARDC, against armed groups threatening peace in eastern part of the country.

“The operations aim to neutralize the FDLR and their allies. They will also help reestablish state authority, in accordance with our mandate to protect civilians and our rules of engagement,” Kobler said.

The Security Council has mandated MONSUCO to support Congolese authorities to protect civilians, neutralize armed groups and implement key reforms to consolidate peace in the country, particularly in the area of security sector reform and rule of law.

Tags: Democratic Republic of the Congo, fighting, Jeff Miller, MONUSCO, rebels, United Nations
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