Armed ViolenceNews

Surrendered DR Congo Rebel Forces Demand Food, Accommodation

Fighters of the rebel DR Congo Cooperation for the Development of the Congo (CODECO) movement who arrived in the city of Bunia in Ituri Province on Friday are demanding that the government provide them the necessary amenities for their reinsertion into the community.

The rebels who arrived carrying their arms with them were supposed to have laid down their arms one month ago in Djugu territory following negotiations with a delegation sent from Kinshasa by President Felix Tshisekedi.

The Mayor of Bunia, Ferdinand Lebilye, confirmed that the combatants who gathered in the village of Ezekere near Bunia were not being taken charge of.

“After their sensitisation by the delegation from Kinshasa, these militia men have preferred to assemble in the village of Ezekere near Bunia. Exchanges with them have never stopped and there is still contact between the two parties.

“ However, they are posing the problem of their being taken care of, especially regarding feeding right now. What they have been demanding has not yet been provided”, Lebilye revealed.

The army spokesperson in Ituri, Lt. Jules Ngongo also confirmed that the combatants were demanding that their welfare be assured because they were assembled in Ezekere where they were not being taken care of.

By noon on Friday, the CODECO fighters were still peaceful and no acts of violence had been reported. However, there was the impression within the civilian population that if something was not done fast, the combatants might resort to violence in order to be given their due.

More information from Bunia said besides asking for food, the CODECO fighters were demanding the release of their colleagues held in the Bunia Central Prison.

Residents of Bankoko quarter where the Bunia prison is located remained indoors for fear the fighters might resort to violence.

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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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