The move to send out a regional peacekeeping force has been opposed by certain locals in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
East African Community, EAC, authorities approved the dispatch of a regional force to aid in the stabilisation of eastern DRC on Monday in Nairobi, Kenya. This action had also previously been considered by military commanders in the regional bloc.
However, some opposed to the deployment of troops cited the troubled past of some of the DR Congo’s neighbors in the country’s war-torn east.
Instead, they urged the Congolese military forces (FARDC) to undergo reforms and be strengthened.
In a letter to President Felix Tshisekedi, the citizens’ movement Lucha (Fight for Change) stated that it “vigorously rejects” the EAC proposal and “calls on you to give it up,” citing “security, economic, or geopolitical” concerns.
Lucha was created 10 years ago in Goma, the city of volatile eastern DRC’s North Kivu region, which borders Uganda and Rwanda.
The group added in its letter said: “At least three of the seven member states of the East African Community; Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi have been involved for more than two decades in the destabilisation of our country, through interventions directly from their armies or through armed groups.”
The two civil conflicts that tore through the huge, mineral-rich DR Congo between 1996 and 2003 involved all three of the aforementioned nations, which are DR Congo’s eastern neighbors.
Assuming that Rwanda is supporting the revived M23 rebels, Kinshasa has already made it known that it opposes its membership in any regional army. Kigali disputes the accusation.
The force is destined for the eastern border districts of North Kivu, South Kivu, and Ituri to the north, but the president of Kenya made no mention of who will make up the force.
However, others in Goma are not persuaded by the notion of such a regional army even without Rwandan participation.
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