The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) has rejected an offer by Rwanda to participate in the proposed deployment of military forces from the East African Community (EAC).
The chairman of EAC and Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, this week called for the deployment of regional forces to eradicate armed groups from the provinces of South Kivu, North Kivu and Ituri.
The decision on deployment of the Eastern Africa Standby Force is expected to be affirmed Sunday when military chiefs for the EAC gather in Nairobi.
Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs State Minister, Manasseh Nshuti, told a press conference that Kigali, just like other EAC states, will be part of the Regional Force that will soon be deployed to eliminate armed groups from Eastern DR Congo.
DR Congo, in response, accepted the deployment of regional armies but said they reject Rwanda’s participation.
Kinshasa accuses Kigali of sponsoring M23 rebels that recently captured Bunagana town near the border with Uganda.
“Rwanda as a member of EAC will definitely contribute to the forces because security matters (in the DRC) are a concern to us just like they are a concern to each of the DRC neighbours. We definitely have hope that this force will restore peace in the eastern DRC,” Nshuti told the press on June 17.
DR Congo government spokesman, Patrick Muyaya, said in a press statement that “DRC will not accept the Rwandan military in the joint forces to be deployed in its troubled provinces”.
“The government of DRC welcomes the proposal made by President Kenyatta of deploying a new regional military force led by the East African Community to enforce peace in the provinces targeted by M23 and Rwanda but insists that it will not accept the participation of Rwanda in this joint force,” Muyaya noted.
Tshisekedi asks UK and US to intervene
Meanwhile, President Tshisekedi called on Britain and America to pressure Kigali to stop its “aggression” and “a deliberate violation of the territorial integrity” of the DRC.
Rwanda is hosting the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next week.
President Tshisekedi chaired an extraordinary meeting of the High Defence Council on Wednesday which suggested a suspension of bilateral agreements with Rwanda.
“The security situation in the East of the country continues to deteriorate… fundamentally because Rwanda seeks to occupy our land, rich in gold, coltan and cobalt, for their own exploitation and profit,” Tshisekedi said, adding: “This is an economic war for the battle of resources, fought by Rwanda’s terrorist gangs.”
Tshisekedi called on the international community (US and UK) to condemn “this invasion, and pressure Rwanda to withdraw its troops from our land”.
“Given the UK’s recent $150 million immigration deal struck with Rwanda, we hope that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to leverage his influence,” he noted.