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The journey home from war

Part of a weapons haul collected in the past couple of months as part of the DDRRR process in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo
Part of a weapons haul collected in the past couple of months as part of the DDRRR process in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (Guy Oliver/IRIN)

In the past decade, nearly 15,000 foreign combatants and more than 10,000 of their dependents have been demobilized by the UN operation at its Goma facility in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; 1,435 weapons have been destroyed

Since 2001 more than 150,000 Congolese ex-combatants belonging to various armed groups in eastern DRC have also been processed at 18 sites in North and South Kivu, Oriental Province and North Katanga

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), the largest illegal foreign armed group, is mainly composed of soldiers and government officials ousted from power after Rwanda's 1994 genocide, as well as refugees. Its current strength is estimated at fewer than 3,000.

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The Allied Democratic Forces, a Ugandan Islamic rebel movement based in the Rwenzori mountains of eastern DRC (formed in 1998) is thought to have about 500 combatants. The Lord's Resistance Army, comprising Ugandan combatants and people forcibly recruited into its ranks, is active in the DRC, while the remnants of the National Forces of Liberation, a  Burundian armed group formed in 1985, has also moved there.

As long as armed groups continue to operate in eastern DRC, the chances of a return to stability in the region are seen as unlikely.

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

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