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Community of East African States calls for full deployment of international forces in DRC

The former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta asks the so-called East African Community Regional Force (EARCF) to order a deployment "without delay" throughout "the entire eastern DRC" to "interpose itself between the warring sides.

News 360

Story by Daniel Stewart

The East African Community of States’ mediator for the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uhuru Kenyatta, has called for the full deployment of international forces in the region to try to contain hostilities between the Congolese Army and March 23 Movement (M23) rebels, amid difficult diplomatic efforts to end a crisis that has driven half a million people from their homes in the last year and a half.

The mediator and former Kenyan president asks the so-called East African Community Regional Force (EARCF) to order a deployment “without delay” throughout “the entire eastern DRC” to “interpose itself between the warring sides” and ensure security in areas where the fighting has ended, according to a statement published by the portal ‘The East African’.

Kenyatta makes this statement after the celebration last weekend of an emergency summit of East African heads of state in Burundi – which the mediator could not attend due to logistical problems – and which, in principle, concluded with a commitment to strengthen the peace plan for the Congolese region and to reach a diplomatic solution between the DRC and Rwanda, accused by its Congolese neighbor of aiding the rebel group, something that the Rwandan government has categorically denied.

Despite the good auspices of the meeting, the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame, this week again accused his Congolese counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi, of having “dishonored” several of the agreements signed to tackle the diplomatic crisis, among them precisely the last one signed on Saturday night in the Burundian city of Buyumbura. The following day, a ‘blue helmet’ of the UN mission died and another was seriously wounded in an attack on a helicopter of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, for which the M23 and the Congolese army have blamed each other.

Although right now there is an EARCF contingent in the east of the country, the population of North Kivu has protested on several occasions against the passivity of the international forces, made up almost entirely of Kenyan military, waiting for the arrival of reinforcements from South Sudan and Burundi, and which have not yet entered into combat against the rebels.


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