Ituri: two communities in conflict commit to peace and peaceful cohabitation
MONUSCO has facilitated reconciliation between two communities in Irumu territory in Ituri province. On 10 August 2021, the Hema and Bira communities signed an act of commitment on community rapprochement for peaceful cohabitation in the Makabo and Tsere groups, some ten kilometers from Bunia.
At the end of four days of meetings facilitated by MONUSCO, the notabilities of this territory, as well as the customary chiefs, decided to bury the disputes that had opposed them for more than a decade. They signed a protocol of non-aggression and cessation of violence that had caused numerous deaths within both groups. Referring to the history of the blood pact of their forefathers, the two leaders of these entities solemnly swore to bury the hatchet and to work towards the restoration of peace in the Irumu territory.
"MONUSCO has intervened; it has helped us with ideas, orientations, and therefore the line of conduct; it has supported us with the means for this community rapprochement. I congratulate MONUSCO for supporting initiatives for the return of peace in the DRC, in Ituri, and in the territory of Irumu. If it were not for MONUSCO and also the provincial government, the agreement signing activities would not have taken place because we do not have the means," said Mr. Batagura, head of the Tsere grouping. ‘’We also ask MONUSCO to support other chiefdoms who are ready to follow our path because war is useless. If they want, MONUSCO can support them," he added.
This commitment was enthusiastically welcomed by the youth structures of these localities. Accused of belonging to insurgent movements active in the region, these young people promise to pool their efforts to sensitize their brothers to leave the bush and lay down their weapons in order to join the ongoing community disarmament and reintegration process (DDRC).
According to Albert Zanamuzi, the president of the Makabo youth, the time for hypocrisy is over, but rather, it’s time for living together. "Today, we have signed the act of commitment to peace between the two groups. The youth of the two entities are educated: a young person cannot leave Tsere to go and cause trouble in Makabo and vice versa. War cannot help us. We have seen that peace continues in Ituri, especially in the Irumu territory; that is why we have decided to live in peace as our forefathers did before us," he said.
For its part, MONUSCO, which supported this initiative, reiterates its willingness to support the government's efforts to restore peace in the province. Kassimi Bamba, MONUSCO's interim head of office in Ituri, is particularly pleased with the commitment of young people from both communities to peace and reconciliation. "I am also pleased that women were involved in the signing of this important act of commitment, because, as you know, women have particular importance in the eyes of the United Nations. This signing of the non-aggression act is the result of hard work carried out jointly. I would like to encourage the other communities in conflict in Irumu territory to make a lasting commitment to the path of peace,'' he concluded.