Burundi deploys troops to EA Regional Force in DRC 

BURUNDI will today deploy troops to the East African Regional Force in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A statement availed to the media yesterday said that deployment of the troops is part of the implementation of directives by the 20th Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State held on 4th February 2023, in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The move is also in line with the meeting of the EAC Chiefs of Defence Forces/Staffs (CDF/CDS) convened on February 9 this year, in Nairobi, Kenya; and Mini-Summit on Peace and Security in Eastern DRC held on the sidelines of the 36th African Union Summit on 17th February 2023, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The statement said all other EAC troops contributing partner states will shortly deploy within the agreed time frame.

The timeline of constituting and deploying the EAC Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (EAC-MVM); to monitor and verify the ceasefire and withdrawal by all Armed Groups, was set for 28th February 2023.

EAC partner states have since identified members of the EAC Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (EAC-MVM) who will join other existing mechanisms such as the Ad-hoc Verification Mechanism and Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism in Eastern DRC.

The Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State and Burundi President Évariste Ndayishimiye, on March 2 this year held a consultative meeting with the Commanders of the Verification Mechanisms.

The meeting was held with a view to review the progress and set up a joint verification framework in line with the directive of the Mini-Summit on Peace and Security in Eastern DRC held on February 17 this year in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

EAC’s quest to find a sustainable solution to the restoration of peace and security in Eastern DRC has received support from across the globe.

During the just concluded 36th African Union (AU) Summit, the African Union Peace and Security Council committed funds to support EAC peace-making efforts in Eastern DRC, from the African Union Peace Fund. Other development partners and global bodies have also committed to continuing supporting the process.

The EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki said in a statement that EAC remains committed to the utilization of existing regional and global frameworks to address the security crisis; and reiterated the EAC Heads of State’s call for immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of all armed groups in eastern DRC and embracing dialogue.

During the meeting, East Africa Community (EAC) Heads of State noted with appreciation the financial contributions by Tanzania and Kenya towards the EAC Peace Facility Fund and urged other bloc members to follow suit.

At a summit in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura on Saturday, the leaders of the EAC bloc enjoined an “immediate ceasefire by all parties in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),” according to a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting.

The 20th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State was meant to evaluate the current security situation in the Eastern DRC. The meeting was the latest diplomatic effort to try to end the conflict, which has displaced at least 520,000 people since March 2022 in North Kivu.

“The summit reiterated its call to all parties to de-escalate tensions,” the communiqué read.

The M23 rebel group has seized large areas of eastern DRC’s North Kivu province in a rapid onslaught since October 20 that has threatened the provincial capital, Goma.

The summit, chaired by President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, who is the chairperson of the EAC, was attended by Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, President Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and President Paul Kagame (Rwanda).

Other Heads of State who attended the summit were Felix Tshisekedi of DRC, Dr William Ruto (Kenya) and South Sudan’s Minister for East African Community Affairs, Deng Kuol, who represented President Salva Kiir.

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