REGIONAL - A senior Great Lakes Region official has asked Kinshasa to disarm dissident General’s Laurent Nkunda’s fighters after it has repatriated Rwandan rebels operating in the eastern part of the country. Ambassador Liberta Mulamula, the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), said her appeal should be considered passionately by regional leaders, and that action takes immediate effect. Mulamula said that, “ What is expected of him (Nkunda) is to disarm and re-integrate. He should accept the ceasefire with a view of allowing the Kinshasa Government to implement the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration process.
“However, the DRC has an obligation to disarm and repatriate the ex-FAR and Interahamwe if sustainable peace is to be attained in the region,” Mulamula told a news conference in Kampala, Uganda, recently.
The rebels are grouped in what is known as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and are largely blamed for the slaughter of an estimated one million people during the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
She added: “Negative forces have to disarm and be repatriated to their countries of origin. DRC has been an area of concern to all of us. I have been there a couple of times and have told them to do what ‘you leaders’ decided in the (ICGLR) pact.”
Mulamula was speaking shortly after meeting with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni with whom they discussed the deteriorating security in the region arising out of a host of numerous negative forces still holed up in the eastern DRC.
“We have exchanged views on security of the region. The situation is very fragile. I am encouraged, however, that there is constant dialogue. There has always been high-level dialogue whenever disputes have arisen,” she said.
Congolese military is engaged in fierce fighting with Nkunda’s loyalists, which has resulted in displacement of thousands of refugees. Mulamula, who is based at the ICRLR Secretariat in Bujumbura, Burundi, has been touring member states drumming support for the ratification of the Nairobi Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. The pact was signed by Heads of State December last year.
The body comprises of Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya and Tanzania, Angola, Congo Brazzaville, Sudan, Central African Republic and Zambia.
Only Rwanda, Burundi and DRC have so far ratified the pact, which needs signatures of at least eight members before it is implemented.
The pact covers 33 projects and 10 protocols in the thematic areas of peace and security, democracy and good governance, regional integration and economic development and social and humanitarian issues.
“If they can ratify it, the problems in eastern DRC would come to an end. I have been reminding the Presidents that all the answers to DRC and the borders are in the Pact. My message has been very well received,” Mulamula, who was earlier in Rwanda, said.