New regional force to secure peace in Eastern Africa, DRC
President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday chaired a meeting of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State on the peace and security situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
A communique sent to newsrooms yesterday evening stated that the Heads of State deliberated on the security situation in the eastern DRC and on measures to promote peace, stability and development in eastern DRC and the greater East African region.
The leaders are also committed to contributing to reconciliation and lasting peace and are determined to find a swift and lasting solution to the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly in the North and South Kivu as well as Ituri provinces.
“They appreciated the supremacy of the Constitution of the DRC and committed to maintaining a unified and secure country, with coherence and credible institutions of central government exercising full territorial authority and recognizing that peaceful means are the best way to resolve conflicts,” reads part of the communique.
Dubbed the conclave, the leaders commenced with a detailed brief on the military track which was presented by the Chief of Defence Forces of Kenya, General Robert Kibochi, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Committee of East African Community Chiefs of Defence Forces.
The communique said the move followed a meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Forces on Sunday 19 June 2022 in Nairobi. In attendance were Chiefs of Defence Forces of all the seven countries of the EAC.
“The brief defined the problem, highlighted the threat analysis, Concept of Operations (CONOPs), Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), Rules of Engagement (ROE) and other legal and technical regulations to facilitate the operationalisation of the Regional Force and its various operational arms.”
It is understood that the Heads of State accepted and adopted the CONOPs, SOFA and ROE as presented by the Chiefs of Defence Forces for immediate implementation.
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 peace in the DRC.
The Regional Force should also cooperate in the implementation of the disarmament and demobilisation process.
It will be constituted as an East African Community force under the EAC Protocol on Peace and Security and the EAC Treaty Article 124 on regional peace and security and Article 125 on co-operation in defence.
The Regional Force received its operational mandate and detailed its operational structure for the Heads of State.
In attendance at the brief was the Executive Secretary of the EAC.
Heads of State Summit was attended by Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Felix Antoine Tshisekedi (DRC), Evariste Ndayayishimiye (Burundi), while the Head of State of the United Republic of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, was represented by the High Commissioner of Tanzania, Dr John Steven.