African leaders agree to deploy regional forces in DR Congo to fight insecurity

By on April 22, 2022

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has agreed to the establishment of a regional force to fight armed groups in the eastern part of the country.

During a mini-summit held in Nairobi, the leaders of DR Congo, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, and Rwanda directed that the regional force be established immediately.

DR Congo currently has one of the largest UN peacekeeping forces (MONUSCO) in Africa but has struggled to bring peace to its eastern regions, where a myriad of local and foreign militia groups have caused havoc for decades.

The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group linked to ISIL (ISIS), is considered the deadliest of dozens of armed militias that roam the mineral-rich eastern DRC.

The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is another militia group in the area. It was formed and led by remnants of the elements that committed the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994, which claimed more than a million lives.

The regional summit directed all foreign armed groups inside the DRC to disarm and return unconditionally and immediately to their respective countries. Summit leaders also demanded all Congolese armed groups to “participate unconditionally in the political process to resolve their grievances” or face military action.

The leaders resolved to meet within one month to evaluate progress made under what is known as the Heads of State conclave. Other than Kenya whose president is the current chair of the East African Community (EAC), the other governments represented at the summit have long complained about security threats posed by Congo-based armed groups that originate from their countries.

The meeting noted that a consultative dialogue between DR Congo president, Felix Tshisekedi and the representatives of local armed groups in the DRC is to take place at the earliest possible time.

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