East African Heads of State on Monday agreed to establish a regional force in a bid to find a swift and lasting solution to conflicts in the volatile Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The announcement was made after a Septet summit and 3rd conclave of the seven-member East African Community on the security situation in DRC, held in Nairobi Kenya following a flare-up of violence.
“The heads of state instructed that the regional force should, in cooperation with the military and administrative forces of the DRC, seek to stabilise and secure the peace in the DRC,” Kenyan president and EAC Chairman Uhuru Kenyatta said in a statement.
“The heads of state directed that an immediate ceasefire should be enforced and cessation of hostilities should commence immediately including withdrawal from recently-taken positions” Kenyatta’s statement adds.
Those attending Monday’s meeting were Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta along with the leaders of Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda and Tanzania’s ambassador to Nairobi.
At the meeting, Chiefs of Defense Forces from all seven member states presented Concepts of Operations (CONOPs) Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA), Rules of Engagement (ROE) and other legal and technical regulations to facilitate operationalization of a regional force and its various operational arms.
Heavy fighting in the eastern DRC has revived longstanding hostilities between Kinshasa and Kigali, with the DRC blaming neighbouring Rwanda for a recent resurgence of the M23 militia.