After holding them for 44 days in captivity, the rebels of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) have released another three of the eight members of a delegation of negotiators dispatched by President Felix Tshisekedi to Djugu territory in Ituri province to talk peace with the armed group.
Those released are General Germain Katanga of the DR Congo national army, FARDC, Ayendu Bin Ekwale, the president of the Union of Cultural Associations for the Development of Ituri (UNADI) and the driver of the vehicle that conveyed the delegation.
Former parliamentarian, Prof. Dhetchuvi Matchu, who was a member of the eight-man delegation, was released on March 21, 2022 for health reasons.
Information about the release of the three hostages was made public on Monday, April 4, by Pitchou Iribi, the spokesperson and interim coordinator of the Peace Task Force, who gave no further details.
The Tshisekedi peace envoys have been detained by CODECO rebels in the Bambu region since Feb. 16, 2022.
Yet to be released are Thomas Lubanga, the coordinator of the Peace Task Force and Floribert Ndjabu, assistant coordinator of the Task Force as well as two colonels of the DR Congo national army, FARDC.
The CODECO abductors of the negotiators are demanding an end to the state of siege decreed in Ituri and North Kivu since May 6, 2021, the release of prisoners and a general amnesty.
Several detainees identified as CODECO combatants had earlier been released by Congolese government authorities in Bunia.
The negotiations are still going on and a crisis unit has been installed in Bambu to this effect, piloted by Pitshou Iribi.
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