News / Africa

Armed Groups in DRC Agree to Ceasefire

Combatants from Nyatura armed group at ceasefire talks in Lushebere, eastern DRC, Dec. 26,2012 (N. Long/VOA)
Combatants from Nyatura armed group at ceasefire talks in Lushebere, eastern DRC, Dec. 26,2012 (N. Long/VOA)
Nick Long
Several armed groups in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo have agreed to a ceasefire, and an alliance, after months of ethnic conflict. Observers say it is the first time the armed groups have reached such an extensive agreement, but they are worried that it may not last.

The village of Mashadi in Masisi territory has been on the front line of ethnic conflict between the Hutu and Hunde communities. On November 11 it was attacked by a Hutu militia, the Nyatura, who ransacked and burned the houses lived in by Hunde, but left all the Hutus’ houses untouched.

The local chief says 155 houses were destroyed and five people killed.

This has been a common pattern in Masisi this year as ethnic militias mainly from the Tembo, Hunde and Hutu communities have wreaked havoc across the territory. Many villages that used to have a mixed population are now empty or inhabited by only one ethnic group.

But last Saturday a government official, Ngwisha Mapendo, had news for the Hutu villagers who are still living at Mashadi.

Speaking at a village assembly he told them they could now have peace. He said he had been at a meeting on December 18 in which local authorities and other power holders had agreed on a ceasefire.

Speaking to VOA at Mashadi, Ngwisha explained that local people had approached armed group leaders and persuaded them to send representatives to the meeting where they arranged a ceasefire and a peace alliance.
 
He said that besides the Nyatura, other armed groups were represented at the meeting, included the APCLS (Alliance of Patriots for a Free and Sovereign Congo), the Raia Mutomboki (Angry Citizens alliance), and several so-called Mai-Mai groups.

x
Together these groups account for the bulk of the militias in North Kivu province, apart from the M23 rebels and their allies and the Rwandan rebel FDLR (the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda). 

The militia alliance held another meeting on December 27 at the APCLS headquarters at Nyabiondo, in the Hunde heartland.

Speaking to VOA at Nyabiondo shortly after that meeting, a representative of the Mai-Mai groups known as General Samson said they had agreed to work under the APCLS leader, known as General Janvier Buingo Karairi.
 
Samson also said that if the government army was able to defeat the M23, the Mai-Mai would be ready to enroll in the army, and if it could not defeat the M23 on its own, the Mai-Mai would help. 

Some local people think the ceasefire and the alliance are part of a government strategy.

Aimee Imoabita is a Hunde who had to flee his village and is now living at a displaced persons camp in Masisi Center, a town in the territory.
 
He said he knows the APCLS is now with the government because since that armed group came to the town it has not caused any trouble for the authorities or for local people. The APCLS do not kill people, he said, and they guard the population very well.

Other displaced people at the camp, including Hutus, agreed.

It is clear that the APCLS and government troops are collaborating, although they were fighting each other until mid-November. Peace talks between the government and the M23 are due to restart in Kampala Friday. What is not clear is how the APCLS and the other armed groups will react if the government signs a deal with the M23, which captured and briefly occupied the provincial capital, Goma, in November.

Speaking to VOA at Nyabiondo, APCLS leader Janvier said it was unlikely the talks would end the war.

He said the M23 have demanded that five of their leaders be given generals’ ranks in the army and have made other demands that will be difficult for the government to accept.

Janvier also said that he is not yet ready to enroll his troops in the army.

He said the government has given too many army posts to the enemy and he wants the government to expel the enemy from the army before his own troops enroll.
 
Activists in North Kivu helped to broker the armed groups’ ceasefire. The president of North Kivu group, Thomas d’Aquin Muitu, praised their efforts.

They should be encouraged to continue their work, he said, because divisive forces are still active. But he said a bigger task still lies ahead, which is to persuade the armed groups to join the army.

Meanwhile, the authorities are hoping they can persuade the Hunde and Hutu to live together in Masisi by relocating markets. Government official Ngwisha Mapendo told the villagers at Mashaki that a market would be moved to their village to encourage the Hunde to return.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid