Uganda, South Sudan deploy troop to DRC

UGANDA and South Sudan have deployed troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as part the recent decision by the East African Community (EAC) for a joint mission against rebels.

According to a statement released by the EAC and signed by the community Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, the two nations deployed their troop on March 29th this year.

The Extra-Ordinary meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Chiefs of Defence Forces/Staffs (CDF/CDS) was convened on March 23rd, this year in Bujumbura, Burundi, to review the implementation of the Heads of State Directives of the 20th Extra-Ordinary Summit held on February 4th, this year in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The meeting evaluated the security situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

During the deliberations on the ceasefire and withdrawal by the armed groups, the EAC partner states’ Chiefs of Defence Forces confirmed that the EAC Monitoring and Verification Mechanism (EAC-MVM) has already been deployed.

“Uganda and South Sudan contingents on March 29th this year were deployed to their respective sectors in Eastern DRC,” said Mathuki in the statement.

He further said “The EAC welcomes this full deployment of the EAC Regional Force in Eastern DRC to support the ceasefire and the restoration of peace and stability in Eastern DRC.”

He said that the EAC further welcomes the deploying of the EAC-MVM to monitor and verify the ceasefire and withdrawal by all armed groups.

“The EAC Secretariat continues to support the restoration of peace and stability in Eastern DRC.

“I urge all parties to the conflict to continue implementing the ceasefire directive observe the withdrawal timelines and join the political process as directed by the 20th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State,” Mathuki said.

On February 17th this year, President Samia Suluhu Hassan joined other EAC Heads of State in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to discuss the implementation of the Nairobi peace process and Luanda roadmap in a bid to address the deteriorating security situation in eastern DRC.

The mini summit which was held on the sidelines of the 36th ordinary session of the Africa Union (AU) assembly that took place on February 18 -19th this year among others, demanded withdrawal of all armed groups from DRC by March 30th this year.

The mini summit was co-chaired by the current chairperson of the EAC President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and President Jao Lourenco of Angola, who is the AU-designated mediator between Rwanda and DRC.

It was attended by Presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Felix Tshisekedi (DR Congo) and counterparts William Ruto (Kenya) among other East African Community leaders.

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was represented by his deputy, Jessica Alupo. Foreign affairs minister Gen Jeje Odongo also attended.

The summit, the Angolan leader said, was part of the efforts to “maintain dialogue” between Kinshasa and Kigali.

The Addis Ababa summit followed a recent EAC leaders’ summit in Bujumbura, Burundi on February 4th this year, which called for an immediate ceasefire in eastern Congo.

The EAC leaders also directed withdrawal of all armed groups by March 30th this year from occupied areas in DRC.

It also recommended immediate ceasefire by all armed groups, directed resettlement of internally displaced persons as well as recommended formation of EAC Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism to complement expanded joint verification mechanism and adhoc verification mechanism

Uganda and South Sudan troops, EAC leaders added, should immediately join the Kenyan troops under the East African Community Regional Forces (EACRF) to secure North Kivu from foreign armed rebel groups operating in eastern Congo.

The main purpose of the meeting was to evaluate the current situation in eastern DRC with a view of coming up with decisions that will ameliorate the security situation and facilitate the restoration of peace and security in eastern DRC.

Ndayishimiye, who is the chairperson of the regional bloc of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DRC, added that under Article 11 (3) of the EAC treaty, member states are enjoined to “constantly review the state of peace and security” within the region.

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