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DRC: President Tshisekedi offers “last chance” for peace to Ituri and Northern-Kivu rebel groups

M23 rebels stand with theirs weapons during a ceremony to mark the withdrawal from their positions in Kibumba, in the eastern of Democratic Republic of Congo, on Dec. 23, 2022   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

DRC president Felix Tshisekedi called upon rebel groups in the Ituri and Northern Kivu provinces to put down their weapons and join what he has dubbed the disarmament and reinsertion operation on Monday.

Congolese president Félix- Tshisekedi launched an appeal to all those who are disrupting peace in the Ituri and Northern Kivu provinces, on Monday, stating "The government of the Republic has committed itself, in good faith, to offering a last chance for a peaceful solution to the rebel groups still present."

Insecurity in Eastern DRC has been a menace to the very existence of current political institutions, added President Tshisekedi during the panel discussion evaluating the state of siege, introduced in 2021, in the conflict-ridden provinces.

The Round Table, attended by multiple government dignitaries, should rule on Wednesday on the strengths, weaknesses, and other contours of the state of siege, with a view to informing and guiding the President’s decision on whether to maintain it, reclassify it or lift it altogether.

With less than six months to go before elections, many political players are expecting to see this measure lifted so that they can resume their political activities.

NGO’s and Nobel Peace Prize Dr Denis Mukwege have called to lift this measure, which they say has only aggravated insecurity in the region.

According to Amnesty International, the decision has resulted in the replacement of civilian administration by army and police officers, the suspension of elected provincial assemblies and the trial of civilians by military courts.

Not only has the "security situation in the two provinces deteriorated considerably", with "an upsurge in attacks on civilians", but the introduction of the state of siege has "worsened the human rights situation", reports the organization.

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