Ceasefire in eastern DR Congo following African mediation
African leaders have announced that a ceasefire in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will begin on Friday.
The announcement was made by representatives of the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, and former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta following their summit in Luanda to address the DRC's security issues.
The statement was issued by the leaders of the DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Angola, and former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, a facilitator of the East African Community for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid the attacks carried out by the rebel group M23.
"If M23 does not withdraw the East African Community (EAC) heads of states shall authorize use of force to compel the group to comply," the statement read.
The statement was released as a result of a summit in Luanda and included an agreement to end all political and military assistance to the M23 and other local and foreign armed groups in the region.
The March 23 Movement (M23), also known as the Congolese Revolutionary Army, a rebel military group based in the DRC's eastern province of North Kivu, was founded in 2012.
The DRC's government has repeatedly accused Rwanda of helping the rebels and even expelled Rwanda's ambassador in late October over these accusations. Rwanda, for its part, has responded by denying these allegations and expressed regret about the exacerbating diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
The M23's first armed rebellion was launched in 2012 and ended in 2013 with a peace treaty. The rebel group, however, launched another uprising in 2021, seizing a large amount of the country's land.
This April, in response to recent advances by the M23 rebel group, East African Community (EAC) member states agreed to form a joint regional force to combat militia groups.
In July, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and South Sudan - member states of the EAC - reaffirmed their commitment to send troops to the DRC to end hostilities and restore peace.
As of today, Burundi has already deployed a battalion, and Kenya has pledged to provide over 900 men, some of whom are already in the country. By the end of the month, Uganda is expected to send 1,000 troops. South Sudan is also preparing to send 750 soldiers to the DRC.