Peace Agreement for Eastern DRC in Works

Yahoo Contributor Network

Al Jazeera reported on Friday that a peace agreement was being finalized in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. However, the announcement came a day after the United Nations Security Council had given permission to peacekeepers to use drones for monitoring purposes, according to Reuters .

Additionally, the humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders issued a warning on Friday that thousands of displaced citizens in southeastern DRC were at risk as they are being confused for combatants during conflict between the Congolese military and militia active in Katanga province.

Here's the latest information regarding the conflicts taking place in rural DRC.

U.N. peace plan to be signed Monday

The agreement is hoped to end insecurity in the east, a region that has been the source of rebellions and government overthrows since the country's independence.

However, there were concerns that the agreement is too short and doesn't include important specifics like how to wind down the rebel group M23.

A special envoy to the great lakes region, an area including neighboring Rwanda, Uganda, and Burundi, would be used to implement the agreement.

Drones approved by U.N.

The 15-member Security Council approved aerial spy equipment use in eastern Congo after initial concerns voiced by Russia, China, and Rwanda.

The drones will be used for situational monitoring of the nine-month-old conflict in the region. Rwanda had opposed the use of drones, voicing concern that Africa would be used as a laboratory for intelligence gathering devices. Rwanda has been accused of backing the M23 rebel group, as noted by Al Jazeera, an accusation the country denies.

The U.N. has wanted surveillance drones to operate in the area since 2008.

Militia groups preventing movement of refugees

Doctors Without Borders indicated that Mai-Mai militia in Katanga, another large, mostly rural province in the southeast DRC, were putting civilians at risk in the region.

Christine Slagt, MSF project coordinator in Shamwana, DRC, warned that with thousands of displaced people on the move, they run the risk of being considered combatants and are unable to access treatment for malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, and other health care provided by the group.

In a statement, Slagt noted the group was "particularly concerned about the very vulnerable hiding in the bush who cannot access medical care. Severe malaria can be fatal in children if left untreated and pregnant women with complications during labor are in a life-threatening predicament."

Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.

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