Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


African nations give Rwandan rebels six months to disarm

04 July 2014, 14:12

Luanda - African nations have agreed to suspend military operations for six months against Congo-based Rwandan rebels in order to give them more time to lay down their arms, regional government officials said.

The FDLR rebels, composed in part of former soldiers and Hutu militia responsible for killing some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus during Rwanda's 1994 genocide, announced in April that they would disarm. Some fighters began doing so in May.

Disarmament would improve the prospects for stability in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where millions have been killed in nearly two decades of conflict that have sucked in an array of armed factions and national armies. Congo is a major producer of diamonds and metals, including copper and gold.

The suspension was announced after a meeting in Angola on Wednesday of foreign ministers from a regional bloc including Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, DRC, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.

"The results of this surrender (of FDLR arms) are not sufficient...but still the member states deemed that as acceptable," Angola's Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti told national news agency Angop. He said the FDLR's progress towards disarming would be reviewed after three months.

The FDLR and previous incarnations of the group, whose full name is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, have operated in Congo's eastern borderlands since they fled Rwanda following the genocide. They are regularly accused of human rights abuses, including civilian massacres.

Pretext for intervention

Their presence along the border has also served as a pretext for Rwandan military interventions in Congo, helping fuel conflict there since the mid-1990s.

Last year, bolstered by a special brigade with a robust mandate to carry out offensive operations, Congo's U.N. mission, MONUSCO, launched a military campaign against the remaining armed groups operating in the mineral-rich east.

The mission was not immediately available to comment on whether it would also suspend operations against the FDLR.

Congolese government spokesman Lambert Mende said the country's army would honour the suspension of operations, but it would be ready to act if the FDLR did not live up to its pledges.

"Of course there will be no military operations during the six-month period," he said. "The military option remains on the table if the FDLR does not show concrete signs of their disarmament within a reasonable period."

Over 25 000 FDLR fighters have demobilised since 2002, but those numbers have slowed to a trickle in recent years. The estimated 2 000 remaining rebels have hidden among communities in Congo's dense forests.

- Reuters

Tags fdlr rwanda drc

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...