The East African Community (EAC) has given a fresh directive to armed groups from the areas that they are operating and currently occupying in the Democratic Republic of the Congo -DRC to implement an immediate ceasefire and withdraw.
The directive was passed in Addis Ababa, – Ethiopia on February 17, 2023, as a follow-up on the decision by the 20th Extra-Ordinary Summit in Bujumbura, Burundi on February 4, 2023.
The later evaluated the security situation in Eastern DRC and an update on the security situation from the Facilitator of the EAC-Led Nairobi Process and the Force Commander of the EAC Regional Force.
Following the Heads of State Directives, the Meeting of the EAC Chiefs of Defence Forces/Staffs (CDF/CDS) was convened on February 9, 2023, in Nairobi, Kenya, to plan the implementation of the Heads of State Directives.
During the deliberation on the ceasefire and withdrawal by the armed groups, the EAC Partner States’ Chiefs of Defence Forces decided that the EAC Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (EAC-MVM) be constituted and deployed by the EAC Secretariat by February 28 2023, with membership from all EAC Partner States.
Peter Mutuku Mathuki, the EAC Secretary-General welcomed the decision by the Chiefs of Defence Forces of deploying the EAC-MVM to monitor and verify the ceasefire and withdrawal by all Armed Groups and asked for immediate action to speed up the deployment of the EAC-MVM, which will play a central role to bring hostilities to an end.
In related development, a mini-summit chaired by Angolan President João Lourenço, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday, February 17, resolved to have among other solutions to the DRC crisis, to have DRC refugees in Rwanda and other African countries at large repatriated.
Rwanda is home to over 76,000 Congolese refugees some of whom have lived in refugee camps for over 25 years.
The DR Congo refugees in Rwanda have also previously made it clear that they are tired of living as refugees. Last month, they organised demonstration in different camps asking their government to do their best and have them repatriated.
They also presented their plea at different embassies operating in Rwanda, seeking them to exercise pressure on their government.