Gilbert Kabanda, the DR Congo Minister of National Defence, has reassured the people of the country of negotiations for the release of members of the Peace Task Force who were abducted by rebels of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO).
Kabanda, an ex-combatant who was speaking during a cabinet meeting on Friday, Feb. 25, said the joint operations being carried out in eastern DR Congo between the country’s national army, FARDC, and the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) were going on according to plan.
“On his part, the Minister of National Defence and Ex-Combatants presented a synthesis of the operational military situation in the country which remains marked by the joint operations being carried out by our armed forces and the Ugandan forces,” a statement on the meeting delivered by Patrick Muyaya, the government spokesperson revealed.
“These operations are going on normally. As concerns the members of the Task force for peace, reconciliation and reconstruction of the province of Ituri who are still held hostage in the hands of CODECO, he indicated that the negotiations towards their liberation are evolving positively and could see a happy end soon.”
Negotiators for a ceasefire, dispatched to Ituri by President Tshsekedi, were recently captured by CODECO militia near Bambu in the Djugu territory.
The hostages include Thomas Lubanga and Floribert Ndjabu, two former warlords in Ituri and two army officers
The civil society in Ituri had earlier expressed its reservations following the capture of these persons and demanded the implication of the head of state in negotiations for their release.
The civil society underlined that “these sons of Ituri were in the middle of a mission by the Presidency of the Republic for peace in Ituri” and called for the “personal implication of the head of state in the urgent liberation of the members of the Task force.”
The delegation sent to Ituri carried out contacts within local communities in view of obtaining the surrender, disarmament, demobilisation and reinsertion of combatants into the society.
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