East Africa

DR Congo Rebel Groups Ready to Disarm

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Following the defeat of M23 rebels, several other armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo now say they are ready to lay down their weapons.

Several armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have said they are ready to lay down their weapons, following the army's defeat of M23 rebels. Since then, there has been a series of letters and declarations by other militias expressing their willingness to be demobilized.

It has been two weeks since the M23 rebels fled from their last holdouts in Congo after coming under intense bombardments from the U.N.-backed Congolese army. Other armed groups in North Kivu province seem anxious to avoid the same fate.

Several of them are ready to give up their activities and demobilize, according to documents VOA has seen that apparently were signed by their leaders.

One of these documents appears to have been signed by leaders of the Mai Mai Kifuafua and Raia Mutomboki groups in Walikale territory – two groups that recently were fighting each other. Another comes apparently from the so-called Cheka group, which has been repeatedly condemned for human rights violations, and named as a priority target by the U.N.

Researcher Fidel Bafilemba, who works for the NGO the Enough Project in eastern Congo, told VOA the documents are genuine. He said they are authentic and were given to Enough by local government officials in Walikale, and were then confirmed by a Catholic priest who helped organize a peacemaking dialogue.

The signatories to one of the documents pledge to abandon all armed group activities and to join the army or return to civilian life, without conditions.

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