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60 rebels surrender in eastern DRC

15 January 2015, 16:06

Beni – At least 60 fighters belonging to one of the armed groups operating in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo surrendered their weapons on Wednesday as peace talks were under way.

The Patriotic Resistance Force of Ituri (FPRI) was in talks with government and United Nations representatives in Aveba, about 80km south of the eastern city of Bunia.

Nearly 400 fighters had been due to disarm, but many refused as long as the government did not accept their demand of an amnesty and of being integrated into the army.

Also Read: DRC Police disperse census protesters

FPRI leader Cobra Matata surrendered to the army in November 2014, but was arrested in January when trying to rejoin his fighters.

The group has been accused of involvement in massacres and of recruiting child soldiers.

Dozens of armed groups are active in eastern DRC, which has been ravaged by violence since the 1996-2003 DRCwars.

They include the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which failed to surrender and demobilize by a 2 January deadline set by the Southern African Development Community and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

Many of the armed groups do not focus on ideological causes, but seek control over the region's rich natural resources.



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