On Wednesday15th June 2022, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who is the incumbent Chairperson of EAC called for urgent deployment of a joint regional force to disarm rebel groups and restore peace in eastern part of DRC as agreed during the Second Regional Heads of State Conclave on DRC in Kenya in April this year.
Following the request, DRC released a statement welcoming the decision but boycotted the intervention from Rwanda.
“The Government of DRC said it welcomed the proposal made yesterday by the President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta of deploying a new regional military force led by the East African Community to enforce peace in the provinces targeted by M23 and Rwanda, but insist they will not accept the participation of Rwanda in this joint force,” reads part of the statement.
DRC makes the statement at a time when Rwanda reiterated willingness to provide troops to support peace operations under the joint regional force.
Speaking to the media on Friday; Prof. Manasseh Nshuti, Rwanda’s State Minister for EAC Affairs said that the deployment of a joint force resulted from agreements between heads of state.
He explained that Rwanda is a member of EAC committed to maintain with security in the region and ready to send forces to restore peace under the joint operation.
The decision to establish a regional force was arrived at in April when Kenyatta hosted the leaders of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and the DRC in Nairobi to discuss the crisis.
The regional commanders of the seven-nation EAC bloc are expected to meet on Sunday 19th June 2022 to finalize preparations for the deployment of the joint force.
The East African Regional Force will be deployed to the Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu provinces.
Kenyatta said the regional force will work alongside local provincial authorities and in close coordination with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) to disarm anyone carrying illegal firearms.