The chiefs of the defense forces of the member states of the East African Community (EAC) have started talks on modalities for establishing a regional force that will help restore peace and security in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
At the meeting held in Goma on Monday, Kenya’s CDF General Robert Kibochi, who also chairs the Committee of Chiefs of Defense Forces of EAC Partners, told the meeting that the peace and security agenda is a critical pillar in anchoring the EAC Integration is process.
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Security and stability in eastern DRC will provide an enabling environment for all other aspects of regional integration to thrive, he said.
“We must therefore collectively a As a region, support efforts to address security challenges and restore peace and stability in eastern DRC so that our people can realize the full potential of regional integration offers,” Gen. Kibochi said.
He called for the adoption of Options that ensure the force remains stable and a clear coordination mechanism with other actors to ensure synergies in the operation.
Kibochi further pointed out that the recent inclusion of Congo in the EAC Community expanded from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic.
“This will not only expand the community market by another 90 million people, but also strengthen the regional economy and social cooperation and enable citizens to share experiences. For this aspiration to be fully realized, peace and security are paramount, and that is precisely why we are meeting today in Goma,” he added.
The chiefs meeting is a follow-up to the conclave of Heads of State, held in Nairobi on April 21, 2022, which emphasized the immediate establishment and creation of a regional force to help contain and, if necessary, counter negative forces in eastern DRC.
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Célestin Mbala Munsense, DRC chief of staff, said the country is ready to help with the EAC to restore peace in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Based on the recommendation of the conclave of EAC heads of state in Nairobi, President de r Democratic Republic of the Congo to invite you to this strategic meeting to implement the military/security enforcement path,” he said.
EAC leaders have called on local armed groups to lay down their arms, cease hostilities and to return them to their countries of origin.
Last year, Kenya deployed a contingent of its rapid reaction force to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) to help stabilize eastern DRC, where many armed groups are based were killed and civilians displaced.
Another group of troops is already conducting their pre-deployment training at Camp Kangaita in Mt. Kenya, Nanyuki.