Dem. Rep. of Congo militia group declares cessation of hostilities

Various factions of Cooperative for the Development of Congo militia pledge to end fighting, says army

James Tasamba  | 16.06.2022 - Update : 16.06.2022
Dem. Rep. of Congo militia group declares cessation of hostilities FILE PHOTO

KIGALI, Rwanda

Members of a Congolese militia group that has been blamed for recent attacks on civilians, including on displaced people’s camps in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has committed to cease hostilities, the military announced Thursday.

The leaders of the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) along with the Union of Revolutionaries for the Defense of the Congolese People (URDPC) militia groups declared the cessation of hostilities Wednesday at an event in Bunia, the capital of Ituri Province, according to the army.

Various factions of the CODECO militia have officially pledged to end hostilities and join the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program, the military wrote on Twitter.

Earlier this year, CEDECO, which claims to defend members of the Lendu community, was accused of taking President Felix Tshisekedi’s peace envoys hostage while they were on a mission to negotiate a cease-fire and the demobilization of militiamen in Ituri.

They announced the cessation of hostilities during the Lendu intra-community dialogue in Djugu territory, according to the army.

The URDPC/CODECO are and will always be in favor of any initiative of the head of state to restore peace in Ituri, the rebels reportedly pledged.

Lieut.-Gen. Johnny Luboya N'kashama, the military governor of Ituri province, congratulated the group, for “swallowing their pride” to commit to working toward peace.

Last November, CODECO intensified attacks on villages in Ituri, destroying nearly 1,300 houses in one attack.

In February, a large-scale massacre attributed to CODECO militiamen left 62 people dead in an attack on a camp for displaced people.

It is reportedly the second time that the URDPC/CODECO militia has signed the unilateral act of commitment to end hostilities, after one signed in August 2020 following talks with the president's peace envoys.

Since May 2021, the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu have been under "siege" where senior civilian officials in the state were replaced with army officers in a bid to contain the growing insecurity.

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