EAC and ICGLR commit to eastern DRC peace

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African regional blocs – the East African Community (EAC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) – will co-operate to restore peace and security to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The decision comes in the wake of a mini heads of state and government in Addis Ababa where the increase in violence and attacks by rebel groups in the eastern part of troubled DRC was the sole agenda item.

EAC secretary general Peter Mathuki and ICGLR executive secretary João Caholo, committed to enhancing collaboration between the two institutions by partnering and supporting each other in a quest to restore peace and security in eastern DRC. Both, an EAC statement has it, institutions have complimentary roles to play in ensuring a sustainable solution.

The gains of regional integration including economic development can only be realised when the region is peaceful and “we have to play our rightful roles in contributing,” Mathuki said.

Caholo noted a win in ensuring peace in eastern DRC is a win for the continent and globe at large.

At the same time the United Nations (UN) mission in DRC – MONUSCO – shut down it Mutwanga, North Kivu base.

The shutdown is part of a transition plan which requires gradual, orderly and responsible withdrawal of MONUSCO from the DRC particularly following the truce observed in the area for several months.

The decision, though it marks a significant improvement in the security situation in this part of the province, did not necessarily please the local residents used to the presence of MONUSCO blue helmets which “weighed heavily in deterring negative forces” a mission statement said.

For MONUSCO, withdrawing from Mutwanga is a sign “the mission is accomplished and security has returned to the area”.