Africa's Great Lakes countries vow to continue DR Congo peace efforts
Date: 21 October 2012
Author: Ronald Ssekandi
KAMPALA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) - Africa's Great Lakes countries vow to continue efforts to find a solution to conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) despite challenges ahead.
The regional efforts still stand to end the fighting in the east of the DRC, especially in the province of North Kivu, where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced since an M23 rebellion erupted in April.
Nathan Byamukama, a program officer of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), told Xinhua in an interview on Saturday that the region shall continue to draw lessons from Somalia, Burundi and Sudan-South Sudan experiences to pacify the DRC's mineral-rich east.
"These have been best practices, they have done it in Burundi, Somalia, Sudan and they have said they are committed to do it in DRC. So nobody should sabotage them," he said.
"We have sufficient evidence that regional effort if supported by the international efforts does well," he added.
Adama Dieng, the UN secretary-general's special adviser for the prevention of genocide, told reporters here on Saturday that the perpetrators of the ongoing crimes in the eastern DRC must face justice.
"Armed groups, particularly the M23, FDLR and Mayi Mayi- affiliated militias, have been responsible for targeted killing of civilians, mass rape, forced recruitment, including recruitment of children among other violations. Ways must be found to stop these atrocities," he said.
The FDLR is a Rwandese militia charged with the 1994 Rwanda genocide in which more than 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were massacred.
Regional leaders of the 11-member ICGLR, have met four times since July to end the fighting in the eastern DRC.
The leaders have agreed that a neutral international force be deployed in the eastern DRC charged with eliminating negative forces in the mineral-rich Central African country.
They have also set up a trust fund to support victims of the humanitarian crisis resulting from the flare.