6 August 2012

Africa: Eleven Leaders in Kampala Over Congo Crisis

Photo: Siegfried Modola/IRIN
An armed soldier in DR Congo.

Leaders from the Great Lakes Region converge in Kampala today for a summit during which they will discuss the deteriorating situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The fighting in Congo escalated when the M23 rebels overran Bunagana border post and also captured several towns amidst retreat of the government forces. Congo accuses Rwanda of fighting a proxy war, which Kigali vehemently denies, calling it an internal problem that Kinshasha should solve.

Last week, defence ministers, under the auspices of the International Conference of the GreatLakes Region (ICGLR) met in Khartoum, to discuss the prevalence of negative forces in the region. It followed a meeting of experts on security.

Some of the negative forces in the regions are the M23 rebels, Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda, the Lord's Resistance Army and Allied Democratic Forces.

President, Yoweri Museveni holds the chair of the ICGLR summit, which he took over in December last year. The President has contacted his Rwandan counterpart, President Paul Kagame and received the special envoy of President Joseph Kabila over the matter.

The 11 members of ICGLR are Uganda, Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. The Kampala summit is expected to be attended by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon and the AU chairperson, President Yayi Boni of Benin.

Former presidents Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania) and Olegum Obasanjo (Nigeria), who were named by the AU as special envoys on the conflict in Congo, are also expected in Kampala.

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