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President Ndayishimiye Calls On Burundi Armed Groups In DR Congo To Lay Down Their Arms

The Burundi President also promised to help returning rebels re-enter the society without stigmatisation.

President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi has called on his compatriots operating armed groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo to lay down their arms and sue for peace.

“Dirty linens are washed in the family and not in public,” the Burundian president declared during a joint press conference in Kinshasa on Tuesday, July 13, 2021 at the end of a three-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Members of the negative forces which have been polluting the Eastern DR Congo are not rejects in the Burundian society. They were not driven away. I call on them to desist from these bad spirits in order to rejoin their compatriots and work together for the development of our country,” President Ndayishimiye declared.

He said that the Burundians who formed armed groups in DR Congo are welcome in their country, assuring that “We are ready to receive them and to reform their spirits so that they become honest citizens as others.”

“Burundi would be happy to see its children return to the country. We will treat them as children of the house and not as strangers. We hope they will return before they are tracked down,” the president added. 

In late Oct. 2020, the DR Congo army dislodged elements of the National Liberation Forces of Burundi (NLF), the main rebel movement of Burundi from their bases in South Kivu in eastern DR Congo.

The DR Congo government had announced that its army had launched aggressive operations against three Burundian rebel groups namely the NLF, the National Council for Renewal and Democracy (NCRD), and Red Tabara which have claimed responsibility for several attacks in Burundi claiming tens of lives within the Burundian army in Sept. last year.

Within the Great Lakes Region, the DR Congo maintains more peaceful relations with Burundi than with its other neighbours notably Rwanda and Uganda, which Congo accuses of working to destabilise its country. 

Rwanda and Uganda on their part accuse the DR Congo of allowing rebels hostile to their respective countries to operate from bases in the Congo.

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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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