Kenyatta calls for deployment of joint regional force in DRC

On 16 June 2022 at 08:46

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta who also serves as the current Chairperson of the East African Community (EAC) has called for the deployment of joint regional force to restore security in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as agreed during the Second Regional Heads of State Conclave on DRC in Kenya in April this year.

He made the call on Wednesday 15th June 2022 as insecurity continues to escalate in eastern DRC following weeks of fighting between M23 and FARDC which saw thousands of people displaced.

Kenyatta has through a statement said that the recent developments including open hostilities, create a serious threat to the success of regional leadership’s work including the promotion of outcomes of the Inter-Congolese consultations on the Nairobi Process.

The Head of State has also called for the declaration of the areas of Ituri in North Kivu and South Kivu provinces as weapon free zones, where any individual carrying weapons outside the official and legally deployed and mandated forces will be disarmed.

Considering the situation, Kenyatta has called for an immediate cessation of all hostilities in eastern DRC, and for armed groups, both foreign and local, to lay down arms immediately, unconditionally ‘and commit to political process’.

“In doing so, I call for the activation of the East African Regional Force under the auspices of the East African Community [EAC]. The Regional Force is a component of the military/security enforcement track also provided for in the Communiqué adopted on 21st April 2022,” he stated.

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.

Kenyatta also revealed that the Regional commanders of the seven-nation EAC bloc will meet on Sunday to finalize preparations for the deployment of the joint force.

“The East African Regional Force shall be deployed to the Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu provinces immediately to stabilize the zone and enforce peace.”

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.

On Monday this week, M23 announced that it captured Bunagana town and border.

The fighting saw people displaced while Congolese soldiers fled to Uganda.

According to media reports, Uganda has repatriated the soldiers to DRC.

President Kenyatta has called for deployment of joint regional force in DRC.