President Uhuru Kenyatta has called for the cessation of hostilities between armed groups in Eastern DRC to facilitate its participation in the country’s political process.
In a statement, President Kenyatta, who is also the Chairperson of the East African Community (EAC) said the ongoing hostilities, in particular, threaten to undermine the ongoing political process (the political track) aimed at addressing the security situation in the region.
“I note, with concern, that recent developments including, open hostilities, create a serious threat to the success of the regional leadership’s work including the promotion of outcomes of the Inter-Congolese (DRC) consultations of the Nairobi Process,” said the Kenyan leader.
“I, therefore, call for an immediate cessation 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,” he said.
While declaring Ituri, North Kivu (Bunagana, Bugusa, most parts of Petit Nord, Masisi, Lubero, Beni-Kasindi main axis) and South Kivu provinces as a weapons-free zone, President Kenyatta said that individuals or groups carrying weapons outside the official and legally deployed and mandated forces in the country will be disarmed.
He further called for the activation of the East African Regional Force under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC).
The Regional Force is a component of the military/security enforcement track provided for in the Communiqué adopted on 21st April 2022.
The President directed regional Commanders of the respective Defence Forces within EAC to finalize preparations to undertake the deployment of the Regional Force.
“The East African Regional Force shall be deployed to the Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces immediately to stabilize the zone and enforce peace in support of the DRC security forces and in close coordination with MONUSCO,” said President Kenyatta.
The Regional Force will work with local provincial authorities to support an orderly and permanent disarmament process under the Programme de Disarmament, Demobilisation, Relevement Communautaire et Stabilisation (P-DDRCS) in order to create enabling conditions towards stability and peace in the eastern DRC.