NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – Former President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta has joined the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) delegation in Kinshasa to review the worsening humanitarian crisis in DRC.
A member of his delegation told Capital News the retired Kenyan leader arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Friday, a day after the UNSC team arrived.
He was expected to hold talks with President Felix Tshisekedi ahead of a UNSC assessment tour in Goma on Saturday.
The UNSC visit followed the advancement of M23 rebels in Eastern DRC on Wednesday after a regional ceasefire agreement collapsed.
Kenyatta who is the facilitator of the EAC-led Nairobi Process on the Restoration of Peace and Stability in DRC will seek to explore measure to manage the situation as “peace efforts suffer setbacks.”
In February, Kenyatta held a meeting in a bid to convene an urgent consultation with the East Africa Community (EAC) Technical Advisors to the Office of the Facilitator to review the situation in DRC.
“The meeting was necessitated by the deteriorating security situation in eastern DRC, particularly in Ituri and North Kivu, where the serious escalation of fighting and targeted killings is reported to be taking place,” his office said at the time.
Following advice from his Technical Advisors, Kenyatta also called for calm and the immediate cessation of hostilities.
He further appealed for an urgent return to dialogue and consultation in order to promote trust and confidence among the parties to the conflict and alleviate the suffering of the people in eastern DRC.
EAC Standby Force
“The Facilitator remains committed to the course of building peace in eastern DRC and continues to call on regional leaders and the international community to lend their political goodwill and support to the full realization of the EAC-Led Nairobi Peace Process for the Restoration of Peace and Stability in eastern DRC,” Kenyatta’s office said.
Kenyan forces deployed under the East African Community (EAC) had already overseen the takeover of the strategic territory of Rumagambo, 42kms North of Goma town, after the withdrawal of M23 rebels.
The force was deployed as a peace enforcement unit but is yet to get the nod to engage the armed rebel groups since the regional leaders prefer political dialogue, placing combat as a last resort.
The rebels gave back the key military base during an event witnessed by a delegation from the Ad Hoc Committee and the Extended Joint Verification Mechanism led by Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Emmanuel Kaputa.
“The takeover signifies yet another critical milestone in the ongoing efforts to bring peace and stability to Eastern DRC,” he said.
The M23, a largely Congolese Tutsi militia, first leapt to prominence 10 years ago when it captured Goma in 2012, before being driven out and going to ground.
But it re-emerged late last year, claiming the DRC had failed to honor a pledge to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.