After the November 4 ceasefire between the M23 rebel movement and the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, things are still not safe for refugees to return to their homes.
M23 rebels and the government have failed to agree on terms of a peace deal due to a disagreement over the wording and interpretation of the ceasefire: the DRC government claims that the M23 movement was military defeated, while M23 argues that they agreed to a ceasefire to achieve peace.
There are 40,000 internally displaced persons within the DRC and 10,000 refugees in neighboring Uganda, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ updated numbers, released on November 6.
Regional advisor to UN refugee agency UNHCR, Christophe Beau, said that armed gangs in the DRC need to put down their weapons and re-enter society before those displaced can return home, reported United Press International (UPI). “Even when a zone has been made secure people always fear to return to it because they could still be threatened by people who were in the armed groups,” Beau told IRIN Monday.
It is only when rebels have been successfully integrated into Congolese society that previously displaced persons can live in the DRC safety, said Beau.