East African leaders urge ceasefire in eastern DR Congo

Reuters (Fair Use)

East African regional leaders have renewed their call for an immediate ceasefire by all sides in the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that pits the country’s military against a rebel group that the government has accused Rwanda of supporting.

At a summit in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura on Saturday, the leaders of the regional East African Community (EAC) bloc enjoined an “immediate ceasefire by all parties,” according to a communique issued at the end of the meeting.

“The summit reiterated its call to all parties to de-escalate tensions,” the communique read.

The M23 rebel group has seized large areas of eastern DRC’s North Kivu province in a rapid onslaught since October 20 that has threatened the provincial capital, Goma.

The conflict has inflamed regional tensions with the DRC accusing neighbour Rwanda of backing and sponsoring the Tutsi-led rebellion. United Nations experts and Western powers have also accused Rwanda of backing the M23. Rwanda has denied any involvement.

Saturday’s meeting was the latest diplomatic effort to try to end the conflict, which has displaced at least 520,000 people since March 2022 in North Kivu.

READ MORE: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/4/east-african-regional-leaders-demand-ceasefire-in-eastern-congo