from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA, (CAJ News) – THE ceasefire between the national army and the rebel March 23 (M23) group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) seems to be holding.
This, according to a top United Nations (UN) envoy, is because there have not been any major clashes between the insurgent movement and the defence forces.
However, Huang Xia, the UN special envoy for the Great Lakes region told the Security Council that the risk of the resumption of fighting was real, posed by other rebel groups present in the eastern DRC.
“The days go by without major clashes between the DRC army and the March 23 Movement. A fragile ceasefire seems to be holding,” he said.
The warring parties agreed a ceasefire in early March. It took off on a bad note as fighting continued.
As the envoy noted, there have not been such clashes lately.
However, the east remains fragile and the risk of clashes between the army and some rebel groups remains real.
“Local and foreign armed groups are sowing terror and fueling instability,” Xia said.
He cited the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Resistance for the Rule of Law in Burundi (RED Tabara).
Xia decried the social and humanitarian consequences of the situation in the eastern DRC as disastrous
In the province of North Kivu alone, 600 000 people have been displaced.
The UN envoy also lamented the tensions persisting between Rwanda and the DRC.
“The trust between the two countries seems to be at an all-time low,” Xia said.
DRC accuses Rwanda of sponsoring some rebel groups.
Regional leaders have intervened to resolve the diplomatic fallout.
The Luanda process aims to restore a peaceful relationship between the two nations.
The Nairobi process led by the East African Community (EAC) seeks to address the conflict overall.
“These two vital initiatives need our strongest unanimous support,” Xia said.
DRC has suffered ceaseless conflicts since independence in 1960. Polls scheduled for later in 2023 are forecast to raise tensions.
– CAJ News