Gen Jean Bosco Kazura, the Chief of Defence Staff of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), ON Monday, May 29, attended an extraordinary meeting of army chiefs from East African Community partner states held in Bujumbura, Burundi, to discuss the security situation in eastern DR Congo.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Francis Ogolla, joined the East African Community Chiefs of Defence Forces and Chiefs of Defence Staff for an extraordinary meeting at Bujumbura - Burundi to discuss on the security situation in the Eastern part of DRC.https://t.co/8c4NUm9hIR pic.twitter.com/2fAucueLE1-- Chief of the Kenya Defence Forces (@kenyacdf) May 29, 2023
Regional army chiefs have met at least three times, since November 2022, in their bid to find a sustainable solution to the rampant security crisis in eastern DR Congo.
The East African Regional Force (EACRF) - now comprising troops from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and South Sudan - deployed in eastern DR Congo in November 2022 and mandated to restore peace in the region has gradually created a favourable environment making main supply routes accessible, protection of civilians, and withdrawal of armed Groups.
The latest meeting is part of continued efforts to restore peace, security and stability in eastern DR Congo, Kenya's Chief of Defence Forces, General Francis Ogolla, tweeted.
When the regional military chiefs met in Nairobi, Kenya, on February 9, following the EAC Heads of State's directive earlier, on February 4, to have forces on the ground, they agreed to deploy troops to areas earmarked for the M23 rebels phased withdrawal and the protection of civilians in areas earlier vacated by the rebels.
The regional force has noted that it continues to enhance the protection of civilians, opening up the main supply routes for the free flow of people and goods and aiding humanitarian assistance in the joint operation area for socioeconomic development in the ongoing peace and stability efforts in eastern DR Congo. On May 26, Kenyan troops under the regional force offered medical aid to an expectant lady in Kibumba, a locality in eastern DR Congo, and took her to Kinyaruchinya Health Center where she had a successful delivery.
Eastern DR Congo, a vast region that has remained volatile for nearly three decades, is home to more than 130 foreign and local armed groups, which are responsible for numerous atrocities. Multiple interventions, including the United Nations' largest peacekeeping missions in the country (MONUSCO), have failed to end decades of violence in the country.
Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi has continuously pressed for the military option - aimed solely at the M23 rebels - but other regional leaders prefer the path of political dialogue as first priority.