East African countries extend regional troop mandate in DRC

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The leaders of East African countries decided on Tuesday to extend the mandate of their force deployed in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in an attempt to bring peace to the region.

Following a summit in Nairobi on Tuesday, the seven countries of the Community of East African States (EAC) announced in a communiqué that they had agreed to “extend the duration of the mandate” of this regional 8th December force until

This force of several thousand soldiers was deployed in November 2022 in eastern DRC, a region that has been plagued by violence from dozens of armed groups and rebellions for almost 30 years.

Its target has narrowed to focus on the areas of operation of the M23 rebels’ north and northwest of Goma, the capital of North Kivu.

The future of this force had been called into question after criticism from DRC President Felix Tshisekedi, but the EAC finally decided in June to extend its mandate by three months.

The Tutsi-led M23 has seized swathes of territory in North Kivu since taking up arms again at the end of 2021 after years of dormancy.

The EAC force has recaptured some areas previously occupied by the M23, but has so far failed to thwart the insurgency.

The DRC has repeatedly accused neighbouring EAC member Rwanda of supporting the rebels, which Kigali denies.

 

Africanews/Hauwa M.

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