The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has set a deadline for the surrender of Rwandese-Hutu rebels operating in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Face of Malawi  learns here on Tuesday.Media reports monitored by we revealed that the 15-member regional bloc wants the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) gunmen to surrender and disarm voluntarily within the next six months.

According to the Southern African Broadcasting Association (SABA), the call for the insurgents to disarm follows a decision by defence and foreign ministers from the SADC region and the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in July this year in the Angolan capital, Luanda.

The 2014 SADC summit held in Zimbabwe endorsed the call by the ministerial meeting in Angola for the voluntary surrender and disarmament of the FDLR forces within six months from 2 July 2014, with a review after three months.

The summit also agreed to make the rebels aware of the military consequences of failure to comply with the agreed timeframe.

The FDLR is said to be composed almost entirely of ethnic Hutus opposed to Tutsi rule and influence in eastern DRC and has been fighting since its formation in September 2000, throughout the last phase of the Second Congo war to date.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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