Pretoria - Regional leaders are confident peace and stability will return to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes region once the M23 rebels have renounced their actions.
In a joint summit organised by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Pretoria on Monday, the summit urged the M23 rebels to immediately halt their banditry activities to enable peace to prevail.
The summit was jointly chaired by Malawi president and SADC chairwoman, Joyce Banda and her ICGLR counterpart Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
In their communiqué released on Tuesday morning, the leaders of the two regions urged both parties to sign an agreement on condition that the M23 made a public declaration renouncing rebellion, after which the Government of DRC would then make a public declaration of acceptance.
"Five days after this is done, then a formal signing of the agreement would be done," the communiqué reads.
The M23 rebels, widely believed to be sponsored by Rwanda, unleashed the reign of terror in the eastern DRC, mainly in Goma. Innocent women and children were killed and raped while business was brought to a halt.
The rebels' actions compelled Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania to respond by sending their troops to the eastern parts of the vast country to help quell the insurgency.
The summit also commended the military's Intervention Brigade (IB) for recapturing M23 strongholds in a development that helped restore the government control.
Meanwhile, among other critical issues discussed include the resurgence of the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) bandits in Mozambique, the Westgate Mall terror attack in Kenya as well as the devastation caused by the recent floods in South Sudan.
Among the regional leaders that attended the summit included DRC President Joseph Kabila, Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, South Africa's Jacob Zuma, Namibia's Hifikepunye Pohamba and Burundi's Gabriel Nizigama.
- CAJ News