EAC Leader to DR Congo: Facilitate Entry of Uganda, S. Sudan Soldiers
The extraordinary Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State has resolved that all troop-contributing countries to the East African Regional Force, deploy troops to the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to help bring peace in the region.
The decision was taken at the 20th extraordinary Summit of the East African Heads of State held in Burundi Capital, Bujumbura on Saturday.
“The Summit Directed all troop-contributing countries to immediately deploy, and urged the Democratic Republic of Congo to immediately facilitate the deployment of troops from the Republic of South Sudan and the Republic of Uganda to the East African Regional Force,” the joint communique issued after the meeting reads in part.
The meeting was graced by Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni, Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Kenyan president William Ruto and South Sudan’s EAC Affairs Minister, Hon Deng Alor Kuol.
Burundi was the first EAC country to deploy troops in South Kivu to hunt down Red Tabara rebels who have been attacking settlements in Burundi.
Kenya would later deploy 900 troops in Goma, North Kivu, DR Congo.
South Sudan and Uganda were expected to deploy troops late last year. However, this was yet to happen.
Deputy Chief of Defence Forces of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Lt Gen Peter Elweru said that UPDF was ready to deploy to DRC to counter the M23 rebels.
“In our view, M23 should return to its previous positions for a proper dialogue to take place,” said Elweru in November 2022.
“If the EAC regional forces being deployed unanimously decide to push M23 back, it won’t even take 24 hours, this they know very well,” he emphasised.
Under Article 11 (3), the Treaty establishing the EAC states that its the responsibility of the Summit to constantly review the state of peace and security in the Community, make decisions, and provide guidance in order to ensure peace and stability in the Community. pic.twitter.com/3lB9ciDxLx
— East African Community (@jumuiya) February 4, 2023
However, in what looked like a pushback, the former Commander of the UPDF’s Land Forces and President Museveni’s advisor on Special Operations, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba said the M23 rebels were undefeatable.
Muhoozi, who worked so hard to restore relations between Uganda and Rwanda, warned that nobody “should mock our brothers in M23.”
“I heard some people saying that they can defeat them in a day? Okay. That’s what Obote used to say about the NRA in Luwero,” Muhoozi tweeted.
Earlier, Muhoozi had said the M23 rebel movement was justifiable.
“As for M23, I think it is very, very dangerous for anybody to fight those brothers of ours,” he said, adding, ““They are NOT terrorists! They are fighting for the rights of Tutsi in DRC.”
ChimpReports understands the UPDF combat forces comprising elite units, engineering and logistics team and military intelligence personnel are ready for deployment in DR Congo.
Meanwhile, the leaders’ Summit observed that the security situation in eastern DRC is a Regional matter that can only be sustainably resolved through a political process and highlighted the need for enhanced dialogue among all parties.
The communique further reads that the Heads of State directed an immediate ceasefire by all parties, withdrawal including all foreign armed groups, and that violations be reported for the Chairperson of the Summit for immediate consultation with members of the Summit.
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