DRC: Hope for peace revived after the agreement reached with armed group in Ituri
On February 28, following the tough MONUSCO-facilitated negotiations, DRC Government and the former armed group Force known as ‘’Resistance Patriotique de l’Ituri (FRPI)’’ have signed a peace deal ending decades of armed conflicts in the community of Walendu-Bindi, Ituri. Ever since, fear has given way to confidence, hope has replaced anxiety and desolation, because people are now living in peace.
"Since the agreement was signed, major changes have been noticed in the relations between the FRPI, the army and the population. There is no more report of a single case of theft, looting or attacks along the BOGA-BUNIA road section. The population have applauded the signed agreement, communities are getting along and are now at peace. Collaboration between the FARDC troops and the FRPI is very good, as is collaboration with the population," said Peke Kaliaki, Chief of the Walendu-Bindi community in the Irumu Territory, in Ituri.
Coexistence between yesterday's enemies is smooth, activities are organized jointly. This can be exemplified by the "peace rally" organized on March 7, 2020, on the International Women's Rights Day. For the first time, the wives of FRPI militiamen as well as those of the FARDC troops and the local women came together, a real token of reconciliation and collective commitment to support the peace process in the southern Irumu and thereby contributing to the reconstruction of this territory.
Fidèle Mbadona Mugey, 31, is spokesperson for the Walendu-Bindi Youth and a secondary school teacher. He is also one of those who relished the newly restored peace: "Coexistence is peaceful, peace is there, there are no more acts of abuse as before, it is a great relief".
However, if the civilian populations can now freely go about their businesses in Walendu-Bindi thanks to this peace agreement, on the other hand, many have expressed concerns and asked the Government to keep its promise. "The population want the peace process to be successful as provided for in the agreement, with effective cantonment of FRPI elements," said the community chief.
For its part, MONUSCO has initiated the continuation of the demobilization and disarmament (DDR) process for ex-combatants of the FRPI armed group. As a result, cleaning and leveling work are underway in the demobilization and cantonment site for the ex-combatants in Kazana, starting March 6, 2020. Material and logistical equipment are already on the way from Goma to Bunia.
On top of that, the operational plan for the FRPI DDR process has been completed. It will be submitted to the Ministry of Defense for approval and signature.