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M23 to Re-occupy EACRF Positions in North Kivu :: Uganda Radionetwork

M23 to Re-occupy EACRF Positions in North Kivu

On Monday, M23 rebels through their political spokesperson, Lawrence Kanyuka released a statement thanking the EACRF troops for tremendous work towards peace restoration in north Kivu as well as bidding them farewell.
Some of Kenyan troops preparing to leave DR Congo soil (Photo Credit EACRF DRC Press Unit)
The March 23 Movement (M23) rebels plans to re-occupy all initial positions that were under the East African Community Regional Force. 


The mandate of troops from Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan deployed in North Kivu province in late 2022 was to reclaim positions that were previously held by the M23 rebels after they defeated the Armed Forces of Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) soldiers and to establish a buffer zone to prevent further clashes between M23 rebels and FARDC soldiers.

This is in accordance to resolutions made and approved by the East African Regional Heads of State Conclave held on April, 21 2022 in Nairobi, Extra Ordinary Summit of East African presidents (Bujumbura) on February 4, 2023, and the decisions of the Chief of Defense Forces of February 9, 2023 in Nairobi.   

However, DRC government vowed not to renew the mandate after its expiry on December 8, 2023 accusing EAC-Regional Force troops of not fighting M23 rebels.  EAC troops also faced heavy criticism and protests from a section of locals, activists and politicians over not launching assaults against M23 rebels.

The DRC government will deploy troops under Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC).       

On Sunday, the first batch of Kenyan troops which was the first to step its foot in North Kivu exited. About 300 troops boarded a plane at Goma International Airport .    

The EACRF troops also released a statement confirming the gradual withdraw of the troops.

“The East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) has started to exit troops from Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

On Monday, M23 rebels through their political spokesperson, Lawrence Kanyuka said that M23 will recover all areas it had handed over to EACRF troops.  M23 says that it will not sit and observe ethnic cleansing ideology being done by DR Congo government through FARDC and militia coalition.      

"At this moment when the regional force begins its withdrawal from the DRC according to the Kinshasa regime decision, the M23 will not let its areas which it gave to the EACRF be invaded by the coalition forces of the Kinshasa regime. Our movement remains committed to the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the eastern DRC” said Kanyuka in a statement.    

In March 2022, M23 led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga launched a war against the government.  The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of backing M23, but Rwanda and M23 strongly deny it. 

The rebels claim to fight against bad leadership in DR Congo based on corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination.        

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