Guterres adds his voice to concerns over DRC violence

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Support for this month’s United Nations (UN) Security Council (SC) “concern” over escalating violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) comes from Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

In a weekend statement he called on “all Congolese armed groups to participate unconditionally in the disarmament, demobilisation, community recovery and stabilisation programme (P-DDRCS) and for foreign armed groups to immediately disarm and return to their countries of origin”.

South Africa is one of three southern African countries making up the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) of MONUSCO, currently the largest UN peace mission in the world.

Guterres again expressed support to national and regional efforts to promote peace and stability in DRC and Great Lakes region, including through the Nairobi process and the upcoming Heads of States conclave. He also thanked President Kenyatta for “efforts in pursuit of peace and security in the region”.

 

Another African leader, Angolan President João Lourenço, was also singled out by Guterres, specifically for “defusing tension” between DRC and Rwanda. This has reportedly seen Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) soldiers kidnapped by DRC forces and an illegal incursion into Rwanda by an armed DRC soldier. The RDF said in a statement the soldier, armed with an AK-47, crossed the “Petite Barrière” border in Rubavu District and shot at Rwandan security personnel and civilians crossing the border, injuring two Rwandan police officers. A Rwanda National Police officer on duty shot back in self-defence, to protect civilians crossing the border and border agents.

“The DRC soldier was shot dead 25m inside Rwandan territory,” the statement said.