29 May 2014 21:00
The Rwandan Hutu rebel group that has been battling the government in Kigali for the past twenty years has taken what it says is the first step in disarming its fighters and starting a political fight instead.
At a ceremony on Friday May 30 at Buleusa in North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo more than 100 fighters of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, FDLR, surrendered and handed in their weapons.
But the FDLR warned that continuing the process of peace depends upon the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame agreeing to talks.
The leader of the rebel group General Victor Byiringiro said “We call up on the International community to help us get an open dialogue with the Rwandan Government”.
The Hutu led FDLR is made up of former Rwandan Army soldiers and Hutu militia who fled the country after the 1994 genocide and found refuge in Congo.
Lieutenant Colonel, Omari Ujani, representative of the SADC, Southern African Development Community promised surrendering combatants and their dependents security. He announced the creation of a joint commission to make sure their demobilization process is effective. Omari also assured them of SADC diplomatic support for their political reintegration in Rwanda. “As you freely decided to lay down your guns, we don’t want you to go back in jungle disturbing locals’ peace”, he said.
The surrendering combatants will wait in a transit camp in Kanyabayonga, a village near Congo's Virunga National Park, before being relocated in Equateur province.