CEPGL decides on joint repatriation strategies

Demobilisation commissions from the three member states of the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL) have agreed to combine efforts to repatriate armed groups. The agreement was reached at the end of a two-day meeting that brought together demobilisation commissions from the three member states; Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The chairman of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) Jean Sayinzoga addresses the CEPGL meeting in Kigali yesterday. The New Times / T. Kisambira.
The chairman of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) Jean Sayinzoga addresses the CEPGL meeting in Kigali yesterday. The New Times / T. Kisambira.

Demobilisation commissions from the three member states of the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL) have agreed to combine efforts to repatriate armed groups.

The agreement was reached at the end of a two-day meeting that brought together demobilisation commissions from the three member states; Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The region has for years faced the problem of numerous militia groups, mainly holed up in DRC jungles, which destabilise the three countries.

Over the past 16 years, Rwanda has particularly faced the problem of militias coined out of the former government forces and Interahamwe militias who have since formed the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).

Speaking to The New Times, the chairman of Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC), Jean Sayinzoga, said the three countries would work on a sensitisation plan to lure the combatants back to their respective countries.

“We will now be working in harmony to ensure that militias in the jungles are persuaded to go back to their countries,” said Sayinzoga adding that the joint efforts are likely to bear positive results.

He pointed out that the sensitisation strategies formerly used by individual countries will now be combined to outline a uniform roadmap, which he said, would yield far better results.

Efforts by the three countries to fully re-integrate the militias in the past have been thwarted by lack of a common plan to ensure sustainability, according to officials.

The meeting elected a joint bureau expected to closely follow up on the activities of the commissions, composed of heads of commissions from each of the three countries.

It was also agreed that the joint bureau will be meeting twice a year to follow up on the progress on the agreed plan of action.

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