East African leaders agreed Monday to establish a regional force to try to end conflict in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and called for an immediate ceasefire, the Kenyan presidency said.
The announcement was made after a meeting in Nairobi of the seven-member East African Community on the security situation in the eastern DRC after a flare-up of violence.
“The heads of state instructed that the regional force should, in cooperation with the military and administrative forces of the DRC, seek to stabilise and secure the peace in the DRC,” the Kenyan presidency said in a statement.
“The heads of state directed that an immediate ceasefire should be enforced and cessation of hostilities should commence immediately,” it said.
Heavy fighting in the eastern DRC has revived decades-old animosities between Kinshasa and Kigali, with the DRC blaming neighbouring Rwanda for a recent resurgence of the M23 militia. Those attending Monday’s meeting were presidents Felix Tshisekedi of the DRC, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta along with the leaders of Burundi, South Sudan and Uganda and Tanzania’s ambassador to Nairobi.