Fierce fighting in the region has pushed huge numbers of Congolese out of their homes and has fueled regional tensions.
Towards the end of 2022, the EAC deployed troops to the east which has struggled with rising militia like the M23 Movement. The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) have also been on the rise in the region.
The mini-summit took place in Addis Ababa on Friday and regional leaders set a date for 30th March 2023. They also called for an immediate ceasefire by all armed groups. In addition to that, they called for the resettlement of the people displaced by the violence.
“We cannot walk away from the people of DRC, history will be very harsh on us. We must do what we have to do,” Kenya’s President William Ruto told the meeting.
DR Congo has occasionally accused Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels, an accusation denied by Rwanda. However though, UN experts, the US and other western states have taken DRCs side on this one.
Earlier on, the EAC had issued similar ceasefire calls and the withdrawal of armed groups including foreign entities. This happened at an extraordinary summit in Burundi on February 4.
In other findings, however, a report by Amnesty International revealed that M23 rebels had raped over 60 women and girls during the attacks in November.
The group said it gathered testimonies from 35 victims and eyewitnesses, describing the acts as “war crimes”.
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