The East African Regional Force (EACRF) and the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco) will soon launch joint operations, EACRF announced on Tuesday.
EACRF's General Jeff Nyagah on Tuesday met with the new Monusco Force Commander Lt Gen Otávio Rodrigues De Miranda in Goma, North Kivu to seal the collaboration on several areas including demarcation and delimitation of operational boundaries, battle space management, including airspace control, logistical support, engineering support in defence preparations, opening of key supply routes, information as well as intelligence sharing and monitoring.
“The aim is to coordinate operations to make the peace-seeking mission more effective in eastern DRC where armed groups remain active and harmful. But as far as the M23 is concerned, local sources have not reported any recent fighting as the deployment of EACRF is now complete after the arrival of South Sudanese troops in North Kivu on Sunday and Monday. The regional force's troops are continuing to move into areas where the rebels have withdrawn, in accordance with the Luanda roadmap, which provides for the gradual occupation of areas engaged by M23 rebels," DRC government spokesman Patrick Muyaya said.
Many DRC civilians are already concerned about the mass deployment EACRF which they see as an attempt to divide the country.
DRC’s Minister of Communication Patrick Muyaya tried to calm national opinion, explaining the context of the arrival of this force whose objective is to work for the return of peace in support of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC).
"It is therefore not a question of any balkanisation relayed by organisations active in misinformation, but rather of the application of commitments agreed upon to achieve an end to hostilities,” Muyaya said.
"It is a question at this stage of the process of seeing M23 withdrawal consolidated until the cantonment, demobilisation and reintegration into civilian life, in accordance with the recommendations of the country’s national assembly which prohibits any integration of negative forces into our armed and security forces,” the government spokesman added.
He also rejected the prospect of negotiating with the M23, while the facilitator of the peace process, former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, said the M23 rebels could join the negotiating table in the Nairobi talks.
The Nairobi Process refers to negotiations between the DRC government and various armed groups, launched in April 2022 in search of peace.
After three sessions held in Nairobi, the fourth session is expected to be held in DRC before the end of April. According to the DRC presidency, it will be held first in Kinshasa, then in North Kivu, South Kivu and lastly Ituri, the three provinces plagued by insecurity.