Illegal Armed Groups Pose ‘Persistent Threat’ to Africa’s Great Lakes Region

Human Wrongs Watch

12 April 2017 – The United Nations envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region encouraged today the countries of the region, and the UN Security Council, to help strengthen the fight against illegal armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its neighbours, particularly as elements of the former M23 rebel group have resurfaced.


Internally displaced persons (IDPs) line up early in the morning for a general food distribution at the UN Protection of Civilians Site, Malakal, South Sudan. Photo: IOM/Bannon

“The persistent activities of illegal armed groups remain one of the main threats to the security of the population and the stability of the DRC and the region,” said Said Djinnit, the Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region told the Security Council.

He said there is a need to boost efforts to neutralize these armed groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), building on the progress made so far by the Congolese armed forces (FARDC) with the support of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).

“In this regard, it is important to further strengthen cooperation between these two forces. It is also important, as underlined by Security Council resolution 2348, that the Intervention Brigade, with the support of MONUSCO as a whole, increases its offensive operations against these armed groups,” he underscored.

Djinnit went on to welcome the launch by the DRC, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda on 18 February of the Joint Monitoring Mechanism to respond to the growing threat posed by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF). “I call on all participating countries to contribute actively to this mechanism and to provide it with the necessary resources to enable it to fulfil its mission effectively,” he said.

Overall, the Special Envoy encouraged the countries of the Great Lakes region “to continue their efforts by taking measures to address the problem of illegal armed groups.”

Regarding the political situation in the DRC, Djinnit called on Congolese political actors to scrupulously implement the 31 December Agreement, in order to create the conditions for the holding of transparent and inclusive elections.

“I urge them to refrain from any action that could lead to violence,” he said, reiterating the readiness of the UN to support the Congolese parties in the implementation of that Agreement.

Reporting some progress on the implementation of the region’s Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework, he said that he had also witnessed promising steps towards strengthening economic cooperation.

“I encourage the signatory countries to continue to engage in joint development projects that contribute to further enhancing regional integration and stability,” he stated.

The Framework, signed by Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania – encompasses commitments at the national, regional and international levels to bring peace and stability to the eastern DRC and the region. (SOURCE: UN).

2017 Human Wrongs Watch

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