Civil society actors, researchers, political scientists from eastern DR Congo have deplored the government’s silence over clashes between the Congolese national army, FARDC, and militia of the M23 that have resulted in the displacement of over 10,000 civilians within 72 hours.
The clashes between the government troops and the rebels have been on since Wednesday, March 30, 2022.
The civil society actors and other activists met at a meeting on Wednesday, Mar 30, 2022and called on decision makers in the country to take the conflicts ravaging the eastern part of the country seriously.
The theme of the meeting was “Understanding the Conflicts in DR Congo” and organised under the auspices of the Centre for Studies on Social Action (CEPAS).
Organised by Rev. Father Rigobert Minani Bihuzo, head of the CEPAS sector for research and socio-political animation, the conference brought together specialists in matters of peace who deliberated on a recently-published book by Rev. Bihuzo on the challenges facing the building of peace in DR Congo and the engagement of the church in peace efforts.
The main objective of the conference was to look into how the consciences of decision makers in Congo can be awakened on the repeated conflicts in the eastern DR Congo with a view to forcing them to take concrete actions to bring about peace in this part of the country.
“In spite of the gravity of the situation of conflicts in the East, we have the impression that the opinion in the West within official circles such as the civil society and researchers, especially in Kinshasa, is to avoid talking about the situation,” Rev. Father Minani said.
“For the past three days, we have been seeing more displaced persons and people perceive this as if it is an anonymous situation. This is reality and it is unacceptable.”
According to him, the resurgence of M23 is due to the failure of the last negotiations in Kinshasa between the movement and Congolese government authorities.
“The M23 is a tree which hides the forest and its practical rebirth today is because of the failure of negotiations that took place in Kinshasa with the regime in place. Fundamentally, each time the M23 emerges, it is usually to push forward a cause which is most times beyond what we see.”
“For me, it is today important to profoundly tackle this question through knowing the structural causes of these conflicts as well as the causes that spark them off and aggravate the conflicts.”
Participants expressed the wish of seeing the DR Congo assuring its security alone without subcontracting it to outside forces as is actually the case right now with the involvement of Uganda.
This has to pass through several reforms and the restoration of state authority throughout the republic with the DR Congo having its own security doctrine.
“The DR Congo must also have the courage to one day sit on a table with Rwanda and Uganda to honestly discuss all the questions and demands in relation to these conflicts in the East because up till now, everybody has been pretending and this would not help in any way,” Father Minani said.
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