Ituri: an armed group signs an act of cessation of hostilities

Family photo after the signing of the act of commitment

Bunia, January 24th, 2023 (CPA) – An act of commitment to cease hostilities was signed on Monday by the Popular Self-Defence Movement of Ituri (MAPI) in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the presence of the military governor of this entity, Lieutenant-General Johnny Luboya, MONUSCO delegates and customary chiefs.

« Our movement has no intention of creating a rebellion against the Republic and even less of belonging to an armed group, like those who continue to plunge Ituri into mourning since December 2017, including CODECO, » reassured the movement’s spokesman, Benjamin Bahati.

« This is why we have no specifications to present to the Congolese government, to condition the return of peace in our province, apart from the request for protection of the civilian population, in general, and that of victim communities, in particular, » he said.

Benjamin Bahati said, moreover, that his movement has decided to align itself with the security forces and the peace process advocated by the President of the Republic, Felix Tshisekedi, through the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Community Rehabilitation and Stabilisation (P-DDRCS) programme.

He pleaded with the government of the Republic to expedite an investigation in order to « unearth the real instigators and perpetrators of large-scale massacres, comparable to genocide, against communities in Ituri ».

« The signing of the act of commitment by MAPI does not prevent the justice system from doing its job, that of prosecuting the direct and intellectual perpetrators of various mass crimes recorded in Ituri, » said the military governor of this province.

« This tribunal will come […] It will come, make no mistake. All these days the experts come and go! Those who remain alive will be prosecuted. Do not be mistaken. We know them, » insisted Lieutenant-General Johnny Luboya, deploring the fact that « the trial by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of some former warlords has unfortunately not had any impact on the stability of Ituri ».

The provincial authority reaffirmed the firm determination of his administration to continue documenting all those who blithely use militias in order to get gold who will sooner or later be prosecuted by the judicial authorities.

In addition to the armed group FRPI, which signed a peace agreement with the government of the Republic in February 2020, two (2) other armed groups, namely CODECO and FPIC, have already signed acts of commitment to cease hostilities.

However, in this batch, only FPIC is trying, as best it can, to respect its commitment, unlike the CODECO militia, perpetrators of the latest killings, and the self-defence militia « Zaïre », we recall.