1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa

Governments to meet over rebel menace

Representatives of the governments of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Uganda are due to meet on Thursday in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to discuss ways of handling foreign armed groups operating in eastern Congo, UN News reported. Quoting Kemal Saiki, the spokesman of the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, UN News said Thursday's meeting would decide on the measures to be taken against all foreign combatants operating in eastern DRC. On Friday, at a meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, foreign ministers and security officials of the four countries called for international sanctions to be imposed against these groups. The officials agreed to seek punitive measures from foreign states, including financial restrictions and visa bans against members of nine armed groups operating in eastern Congo. In a joint communiqué issued at the end of their two-day regional security meeting, the officials said that they might ask the international community to label the armed groups "terrorist organisations". However, the officials did not make a decision on a Ugandan request to send ground troops into the eastern Congo to hunt rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), one of three Ugandan rebel groups in Orientale Province, northeastern Congo. The government in Kinshasa rejected this proposal shortly after it was tabled by Uganda on Thursday. The officials also did not discuss a proposed deployment of a joint verification team, comprising DRC and Ugandan military officials, who were to go into Orientale to determine the exact location of the LRA rebels. However, the officials said in the communiqué that the neighbours that formed the grouping to spur security cooperation and coordination among its often feuding and warring members, would pursue "additional joint measures" to rid the eastern Congo of the rebels. These measures include "pursuing legal prosecution, extradition and trial of leaders of negative forces, visa and travel bans (and) fundraising and financial restrictions", their statement said. Other measures could include banning of political activities by the groups and "consideration of designation of negative forces as terrorist groups". Several rebel groups - referred to as "negative forces" - have taken advantage of insecurity and lawlessness in northeastern and eastern Congo to set up camp. These groups include the LRA and the Rwandan Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). Several Congolese militias as are also operating there, officials said. In August, the Congolese government gave the groups until 30 September to disarm voluntarily; a deadline most failed to honour. In their communiqué, the officials said the four nations had "agreed to disarmament, using all necessary means, of all armed groups and militias in eastern DRC."

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article

Get the day’s top headlines in your inbox every morning

Starting at just $5 a month, you can become a member of The New Humanitarian and receive our premium newsletter, DAWNS Digest.

DAWNS Digest has been the trusted essential morning read for global aid and foreign policy professionals for more than 10 years.

Government, media, global governance organisations, NGOs, academics, and more subscribe to DAWNS to receive the day’s top global headlines of news and analysis in their inboxes every weekday morning.

It’s the perfect way to start your day.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian today and you’ll automatically be subscribed to DAWNS Digest – free of charge.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.