A team of United Nations, African Union and other Special Envoys on the Great Lakes region have said they are “deeply outraged” by the recent spate of civilian massacres that have taken place in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and have called on the Government to “engage in robust military action’ against all armed groups operating there.
The killings have taken place particularly around the town of Beni, in North Kivu province, said a statement released by Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes.
“Some 100 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed on 20 November, bringing the number of victims to more than 200 since mid-October,” the group of Envoys said, condemning this “gruesome attack” and the massacres which have been attributed to the Uganda-based militia group, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
Stressing that there should be no impunity for those responsible for human rights abuses, the Envoys called on the DRC government to engage a robust military action against the group perpetrating these crimes. The UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) stood by for any support.
The Envoys also called for similar action against all the other armed groups in the region, chief among them the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which have been under international pressure to dismantle by 2 January or face military action.
The group urged the FDLR to fully surrender and disarm. There is also urgency to complete demobilization of the former 23 March Movement (M23) combatants.
The group of Envoys further called on the DRC Government to accelerate the disarmament, demobilization, reintegration, repatriation, and resettlement (DDRRR) programme for ex-combatants and appealed to international partners to provide financial support to that end.
A return to stability in eastern DRC requires concerted efforts to neutralize all the negative forces. With this in mind, the Team of Envoys stressed the strategic importance of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework agreement for the DRC.
The team of Envoys comprises of several UN officials including the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region Said Djinnit, the Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC Martin Kobler, and the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Russ Feingold.
The team also includes the African Union Special Representative for the Great Lakes region Boubacar Diarra, the European Union Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes region Koen Vervaeke, and the Belgium Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Franck de Coninck.