Former President Uhuru Kenyatta called for an urgent consultation with the East African Community (EAC) Technical Advisors to the Office of the Facilitator yesterday.The meeting was to review the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Uhuru is the Facilitator of the EAC-Led Nairobi Process on the Restoration of Peace and Stability in eastern DRC.He met the team due to deterioration of security in the troubled Central African country.
According to a statement from his office,the facilitator was particularly concerned by the serious escalation of fighting and targeted killings reported to be taking place in Ituri and North Kivu regions.Following the advice of his technical advisers, he reiterated his call for calm and immediate cessation of hostilities.
“The Facilitator expressed his deep concern to the serious violation of the Nairobi Principles and the Luanda Agreement. He also called for urgent return to dialogue and consultation in order to promote trust and confidence among the parties to the conflict and alleviate the suffering of the people in eastern DRC,” read the statement.
Over the weekend, DRC police clashed with Rwandan soldiers on a small island in Lake Kivu, adding to the ongoing tensions between Kigali and Kinshasa.
Police stationed on Ibindja Island in eastern DRC challenged three boats carrying armed Rwandan troops as they approached their base on Saturday.
The source said a DRC policeman went to challenge the soldiers as to why they were on the Congolese side of the border, and the exchange that ensued left one police officer with a gunshot wound.
The recent resurgence of the Tutsi-led rebel group M23 has soiled relations between the neighbours as Congo, United Nations experts and Western powers accuse Rwanda of backing the rebels, which Rwanda denies.
Last week, Rwandan forces fired at a DRC fighter jet that it said had violated its airspace. Congo denied Rwanda’s accusation and accused the neighbour of an act of war.
Meanwhile Uhuru assured of his commitment to restoring peace and called upon regional leaders and the international community to lend a helping hand in the peace process.
“The Facilitator remains committed to the course of building peace in eastern DRC and continues to call on regional leaders and the international community to lend their political goodwill and support to the full realization of the EAC-Led Nairobi Peace Process for the Restoration of Peace and Stability in eastern DRC,” Tuesday’s statement added.