The recent spate of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is, according to a senior United Nations (UN) official entrusted with African affairs, “a repeat of a brutal history of violence” in the central African country.
Ama Akyaa Pobee, Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, told the Security Council (SC), “It is imperative this Council lend its full weight to ongoing regional efforts to defuse the situation and bring an end to the M23 insurgency, once and for all”.
Describing the current situation in DRC as “volatile” she pointed out M23 hostile actions against both Monusco and DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) constitute serious threats to the region’s stability and security. The humanitarian impact of recent attacks, she said, is significant, with at least 75,000 people internally displaced and more than 11,000 crossing into Uganda as of May 30.
She said urgent action is needed to de-escalate the current crisis – especially in support of regional efforts spearheaded by the recent Heads of State Conclave, in Nairobi. The two-track process launched there – which extends a hand to armed groups, while demanding they lay down arms – provided fresh impetus to bring fighters into Kinshasa’s demobilisation, disarmament, community recovery and stabilisation programme.
In support of this Pobee called on all local armed groups to participate in the process without preconditions and on foreign armed groups to immediately disarm and return home.
Huang Xia, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region, recalled a similar crisis caused by M23 a decade ago in the Great Lakes region. This was worsened by reciprocal accusations between DRC and its neighbours, the envoy said.
Warning history seems to be repeating itself, he said everything possible must be done to avoid a new escalation with immeasurable humanitarian, security and political consequences.
Urging all armed groups to lay down their arms and resolutely engage in the Nairobi political dialogue, Xia said a military approach alone will not be enough to bring lasting peace.
Collective political commitments must continue and all available bilateral and regional mechanisms need to be mobilised.
“The region does not need a new crisis — keep the channels of dialogue open at all levels and preserve progress made in recent years,” he said.
- A Tell / Defenceweb report