More Worry In DRC As CODECO Rebel Group Detains President Tshisekedi‘s Envoy

More Worry In DRC As CODECO Rebel Group Detains President Tshisekedi‘s Envoy an accessible web community

By Spy Uganda Correspondent 

Three former warlords have been held by militiamen in northeastern DR Congo, where they had gone in a bid to negotiate the group’s surrender, sources said.

Thomas Lubanga, Germain Katanga and Floribert Ndjabu and five escorts were held on Wednesday in Ituri province.

They went there on a mission from President Felix Tshisekedi to negotiate ceasefire terms and the militiamen’s demobilisation.

Ndjabu, reached by phone by AFP, said late Wednesday afternoon that the delegation was in the village of Petsi “for talks with the CODECO militiamen.”

“We are being held by this group with a view to continuing the negotiations in the context of our mission,” he said.

Further attempts to reach the phones of the delegation — comprising the three ex-warlords, two Congolese army colonels and three escorts — failed.

“There was shelling by the army during the meeting… so we decided to hold them,” Basa Zukpa Gerson, spokesman for a CODECO faction, the Union of Revolutionaries for the Defence of the Congolese People (URDPC), told AFP.

“If President Tshisekedi wants to negotiate, let him ask his troops to withdraw from the area and we will talk.”

Lubanga and Katanga respectively served 14- and 12-year prison sentences handed down by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed in Ituri.

Ndjabu was jailed for 15 years over the killing of nine UN peacekeepers.

CODECO — the Cooperative for the Development of Congo — is a political-religious sect that claims to represent the interests of the Lendu ethnic group.

According to UN and Congolese authorities, the group is behind much current violence in Ituri. It is accused of killing 18 civilians on Tuesday.

Ituri and the neighbouring province of North Kivu have been placed under a state of siege since May last year, but the crackdown has so far failed to end abuses by armed groups. an accessible web community

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