By Ritah Kemigisa
Kenya president Uhuru Kenyatta who is also the chairman of the East African Community has called for an immediate end of all hostilities in the Eastern DRC and for all armed groups, both foreign and local, to lay down arms immediately and unconditionally and to commit to a political process.
In a statement issued last night Kenyatta has also declared most part of the Eastern DRC including Ituri, North and south Kivu as Weapons free zones and ordered for the deployment of the East African Regional Force in the area to restore peace and security and in close coordination with MONUSCO.
He says the Regional Force will work with local provincial authorities to support an orderly and permanent disarmament process in order to create enabling conditions towards stability and peace in the eastern DRC.
Kenyatta says much as he is encouraged by the positive progress and commitment of leaders to find lasting peace for the people of the DRC, he expressed fear that the recent developments including, open hostilities create a serious threat to the success of the regional leadership’s work.
“Thereafter, as the co-convener of the Inter Congolese (DRC) consultations of the Nairobi Process, I undertook a series of telephone conversations with my colleagues in the region on the 14 th and again on the 15 th of June 2022. Encouraged by the positive progress and commitment of leaders to find lasting peace for the people of the DRC, I continue to call upon the political leadership in the region to remain committed in putting in place and reinforcing the political and military efforts in the DRC towards building lasting peace and stability in the country.”
Since March, fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebels has displaced more than 80,000 people.