CODECO Rebels Declare Ceasefire In Northeast DR Congo

The DR Congo government failed to reintegrate CODECO rebels in 2020 when they first embraced a ceasefire deal which lasted only a few weeks.

The Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) rebel movement has signed a new “unilateral declaration of a ceasefire” in Djugu and Mahagi territories to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

This new engagement by CODECO follows meetings held between June 1 and 4, 2022, in Kpandroma, by representatives of the Lendu community, who make up most of the CODECO combatants with the participation of local authorities.

According to Jean-Marie Ndjaza, one of the representatives of the Lendu community, “by this unilateral ceasefire, CODECO engages not to attack civilians and soldiers of the DR Congo national army, FARDC”.

“CODECO also engages not to attack the Zaire armed group (made up mostly of members of the Hema community) but reserves the right to legitimate self-defence if there is an attack against any of its positions,” Ndjaza said.

“The armed group also engages to facilitate the Nairobi negotiations while waiting for the disarmament, demobilisation and reinsertion (DDR) process to take its course.”

Ndjaza noted that the CODECO armed group would pursue discussions to appoint the representatives of all its factions to the Nairobi negotiations.

CODECO had in 2020 signed a unilateral ceasefire facilitated by the former warlords of Ituri delegated by President Felix Tshisekedi.

The process led to the regrouping of over 1000 combatants for disarmament, followed by a ceasefire on the ground, which lasted for only a few weeks because the government did not follow up by effectively reintegrating the combatants who laid down their arms.

“This time around, things are different. In 2020, it was the presidency that sent the former warlords to negotiate for peace with the armed groups, and there was no follow-up on the part of the presidency,” Ndjaza said.

“But this time, the presidency has established the DDR, which the government will finance, so we expect different results.”

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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