Launch in Goma of the repatriation process for foreign ex-combatants

Participating in the launch of the Follow-up Mechanism for the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework agreement, Said Djinnit, UN Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region (2nd from left) with AU, ICGLR and Rwandan representatives (Photo: Michael Ali)

24 Apr 2018

Launch in Goma of the repatriation process for foreign ex-combatants

Goma (Eastern DRC), 24 April 2018 - Representatives of the Governments of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Uganda, as well as the Guarantors of the Addis Ababa Framework agreement, of which MONUSCO, the United Nations Mission in the DRC, and the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, met on 24 April 2018 in Goma to launch the Follow-up Mechanism of the said Framework agreement.

The purpose of this meeting is to enable the implementation of the conclusions reached by the heads of State of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) last year in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

Special Envoy Saïd Djinnit said this meeting is aimed at speeding up the process for the return of disarmed foreign combatants to their countries of origin.

It is feared that the ex-combatants of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) may not fully adhere to the Follow-up Mechanism, which requires their unconditional return to their country of origin. They demand political negotiations with the Rwandan government as a prerequisite. The Rwandan emissary present at this meeting, Désiré Nyaruhirira, Minister Counselor and Senior Diplomatic Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Rwanda, reassures for his part that all security guarantees are taken by the authorities for the safe return of these ex-combatants to their country.

However, the authorities of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are unanimous in acknowledging that the presence of the FDLR on Congolese soil presents both a threat to Rwanda and a source of insecurity for the DRC.

The Goma meeting was a prelude to a field visit to the ex-combatants’ camps, starting with Camp Bahuma of Kisangani, Walungu in South Kivu and Kanyabayonga in North Kivu. The three-day field visit started on 25 April 2018.