The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshekedi, has announced that the East Africa Community Regional Force (EARF) which was deployed to quell a flare-up of violence in the eastern DR Congo, will leave the country’s territory next month (June) if the results of the mission are not satisfying.
He made the remarks on Tuesday at a press conference in Botswana where he is on a State visit.
“Under the terms of the mandate of the EACRF, next June, if the results of its mission are not satisfactory, this contingent which has come to our rescue will have to leave the DR Congo territory definitively,” Tshekedi said.
With the blessing of President Tshekedi, Kenya deployed first in November, effectively leading the Force. Uganda and Burundi have since sent their troops.
The initial deployment of the joint regional Force is meant to take six months and then be reviewed.
On the DRC invitation, Uganda deployed troops in 2021 to fight the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels under Operation Shujaa.
Eastern DR Congo is a haven to over 100-armed rebel groups, including the ADF, Red Tabara, Mayi-Mayi, M23, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), CODECO, FOREBU, among others.
On June 20 last year, EAC leaders approved the deployment of joint regional troops to pacify eastern DR Congo during the 3rd Conclave meeting on the DRC crisis in Nairobi.
Under the Nairobi Conclave, EAC leaders agreed to create a joint force to crack down on armed rebel groups operating in eastern Congo that refuse to surrender, unconditionally disarm and participate in dialogue processes.
To pacify eastern DR Congo, various efforts have been made by EAC and other actors, including the Luanda talks between Tshisekedi, and his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, that are mediated by the President of Angola, Joao Lourenco, who is the chairperson of the International Conference of Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).