DR Congo

DR Congo: MONUC and FARDC joint patrol talks peace with FDLR

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A joint MONUC-FARDC operation has been to Mpofi in North Kivu to persuade armed groups to give up their weapons.

Mpofi is a village some 45 km east of Walikakale town. It is isolated, lacks roads and is in need of other basic infrastructure. Mpofi has been linked with activity by FDLR, Alliance des Patriotes pour un Congo Libre et Souverain (APCLS) and Simba Mai-Mai combatants. There have been allegations of illegal tax collection, looting, extorting and mining activities.

The mission, conducted under the Indian Battalion from 7 to 10 October, was carried out by MONUC and the Congolese national army (FARDC) with the aim of sensitising FDLR members towards DDRRR and those of the other armed groups towards "brassage" - the process by which armed combatants are given training and then integrated into the Congolese army.

DDRRR stands for to the MONUC-led voluntary Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement programme for foreign armed groups.

Using Mpofi as a base joint patrol missions were carried out in nearby villages where the FARDC and MONUC were able to interact with the inhabitants.

The patrols also came across 8 FDLR members who were then sensitized by DDRRR representatives.

The villagers reported that the FDLR, on noticing the joint patrols, quickly abandoned two road barriers they had established to monitor movement in the surrounding villages.

DDRRR sensitization activities were conducted chiefly in and around Kigoma 6 km west of Mpofi and Kembe which lies 8km to the east.

The local population expressed their gratitude for the deployment of FARDC troops in the area for security and protection against the armed groups. They also called for humanitarian organizations to come to the area to help in improving their living conditions.