Home NewsNational DRC Crisis: Regional Bloc Welcomes Uganda, S. Sudan Deployment In Eastern DRC

DRC Crisis: Regional Bloc Welcomes Uganda, S. Sudan Deployment In Eastern DRC

by Edmund Kagire
4:42 pm
The UPDF contingent to DRC was flagged off in Kisoro, on Wednesday.

The UPDF contingent to DRC was flagged off in Kisoro, on Wednesday.

The East African Community (EAC) has welcomed the deployment of troops in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by Uganda and South Sudan as part of efforts to implement the Heads of State directives on pacifying the eastern part of the country.

The regional bloc said the deployment by Uganda and South Sudan on March 29 signifies the commitment by partner states to implement the decisions of the 20th Heads of State Summit held on February 4, 2023 in Bujumbura, Burundi, which agreed to the full deployment of the East African Regional Force (EARF).

In a statement on Thursday, the EAC Secretary General, Dr. Peter Mathuki, hailed the move by the two countries to dispatch forces in areas where fighting has been raging on between the Congolese government forces FARDC and mainly M23, which says fights for the rights of Congolese Rwandophones who are being targeted in ethnic attacks.

Uganda and DRC deployed contingents in their respective sectors.

“The EAC welcomes this full deployment of the EAC Regional Force in Eastern DRC to support the ceasefire and the restoration of peace and stability in Eastern DRC,” Dr. Mathuki said.

“The EAC further welcomes the deploying of the EAC-MVM to monitor and verify the ceasefire and withdrawal by all Armed Groups. The EAC Secretariat continues to support the restoration of peace and stability in Eastern DRC,” it adds.

A meeting of EAC Chiefs of Defence Forces which convened in Bujumbura on March 23, confirmed that the EAC Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (EAC-MVM) has already been deployed and gave a greenlight to Uganda and South Sudan to dispatch troops.

Uganda’s Commander Land Force Lt. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga flagged-off of the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces Contingent to serve under the EACRF, urging the forces to play a ‘peacekeeping role’ and reiterated that the Ugandan forces will not engage armed groups.

“The EACRF is not going attack the belligerents there but it is going to witness and ensure the implementations of the decisions that were taken between the Heads of States meetings,” Lt. Gen Muhanga said.

Following the meeting of CDFs in Bujumbura, the DRC government again protested, insisting that the regional force should be helping Congolese government forces to fight armed groups, especially M23, even though the EAC has not given the EACRF a force to use mandate.

Lt. Gen Muhanga said Ugandan forces are going on a peacekeeping mission, not to engage armed groups.

Following the meeting of  heads of armed forces  in Bujumbura, the DRC authorities were quick to leak the resolutions of the meeting, which are supposed to be confidential, through social media accounts linked to the government, which again launched direct attacks on the regional force.

What does Rwanda have to say?

Rwanda says that the continued actions of DRC to contravene the decisions of the Heads of State and doing the opposite of what is agreed will continue to derail efforts to restore peace in the Eastern part of the country.

The Deputy Spokesperson of the Rwandan Government, Alain Mukuralinda says that DRC has continued to violate all the directives  issued by Heads of State

“What we see is the DRC continuing to disregard the outcomes of the decisions made by the regional leaders. They are the ones who violate the ceasefire, continue to be on an offensive and have not implemented even a single resolution from the meetings in Luanda, Nairobi or Addis Ababa,”

“DRC continues to traverse the world, badmouthing Rwanda, asking countries to sanction Rwanda instead of implementing the decisions of the leaders. DRC was among the signatories of these resolutions but they are the first to violate them. We cannot say we have made any progress so far with the DRC still behaving like that,” Mukuralinda said.

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