RDC asked to explain reasons for deportation of Rwandan soldiers

By Zaninka Umutesi
On 3 February 2023 at 06:30

The East African Community (EAC) has asked the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to explain its decision to deport three Rwandan soldiers who are part of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) deployed to restore peace in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

A statement signed by the Spokesman of the Congolese Army, Gen Maj Ekenge Bomusa Efomi Sylvain, and released on January 31, 2023, states that it was decided, "to deport from the country the Rwandan soldiers who are part of the EACRF which has headquarters in Goma."

The statement further reads that Rwandan soldiers had already left Congo. After the decision, Rwanda immediately recalled its soldiers who were part of other regional initiatives in DRC.

In a letter to which IGIHE has a copy, the Secretary General of the East African Community, Peter Mutuku Mathuki wrote to the Deputy Prime Minister of the Congo and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula, saying that he does not understand the reasons for the decision.

"The East African Community has learned with concern that on January 30, 2023, of the deportation of 3 officers deployed by the Republic of Rwanda at the East African Community Regional Force Headquarters in Goma to Rwanda," reads part of the letter.

This document also reminds Congo that what it did was a mistake because the decision was made "by the Heads of State at their meeting on the Peace Process in Eastern Congo on the sidelines of COP 27 on 7th November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt.”

Peter Mutuku Mathuki went on "to seek further and urgent clarification" from Congolese leaders as to why they decided to expel the Rwandan soldiers.

These Rwandan soldiers are part of EAC Forces led by a Kenyan, Gen. Maj. Jeff Nyagah. They have been in RDC for about three months.

The troops in this peacekeeping mission come from countries including Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda, and Burundi. They are expected to spend six months in DRC.

Lutundula has been asked to provide clarifications on the deportation of Rwandan soldiers.