DRC, rebel groups agree to release prisoners after peace talks in Kenya

The third Inter-Congolese dialogue under the EAC-Led Nairobi Process. Photo via @jumuiya

Nairobi, Kenya | Xinhua | A new round of peace talks between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government and representatives of major rebel groups ended in the Kenyan capital city Nairobi on Tuesday with participants agreeing on a raft of issues including the unconditional release of prisoners.

The third Inter-Congolese consultations of the East African Community (EAC) led by the Nairobi Peace Process that seeks to bring peace to the troubled eastern DRC resolved that prisoners with no criminal records of atrocities or criminal convictions be freed.

Those who participated in the talks, including the armed groups, civil society groups, and victims of sexual violence, committed to the cessation of hostilities as well as the release of child soldiers and access to humanitarian aid.

“Appealed to the international community to support the government of the DRC in the implementation of the roadmap arising out of the EAC-led Nairobi process including support to Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery, and Stabilization Program,” they said in a joint statement issued at the end of the seven-day meeting.

Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who facilitated the talks told the participants after the rebel groups, including the M23 rebel group, accepted a cease-fire that two follow-up meetings of the concluded Nairobi Peace Process will be held in January 2023 in DRC’s cities of Goma and Bunia.

The participants agreed that the two meetings will be used to assess the progress on these agreements and to begin engagements on the medium- and long-term peace agenda.

The former Kenyan leader has insisted that foreign armed groups in the DRC must be disbanded and the sovereignty of the country respected.

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