Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye has called for a Summit of the East African Community in a bid to resolve some of the simmering issues within the bloc.
The Extra-Ordinary Summit in Bujumbura will be held under President Ndayishimiye as the Chairperson of the Summit of Heads of State.
The agenda will be the evaluation of the “Security Situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo & Way Forward,” a statement from the East African Community headquarters in Arusha said on Friday.
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The convening of the regional heads of state comes at a time when DR Congo and Rwanda relations has hit an all-time low after three Rwandan army officials were expelled from Goma. They had been part of the regional force.
East African Community Secretary-General Peter Mathuki, in a letter dated February 1, asked Kinshasa to clarify why Rwandan officers serving at the regional force Headquarters in Goma were expelled.
“The East African Community has learnt with concern on 30th January, 2023 of the deportation of 3 officers deployed by the Republic of Rwanda at the East African Community Regional Force Headquarters in Goma to Rwanda.
“Your Excellency, you may recall that the deployment of the officers at the East African Community Regional Force Headquarters in Goma to support the Regional Command Centre was a decision of the Heads of State at their meeting on the Peace Process in the Eastern DRC,” the letter reads.
Early last year East African Community member states approved the deployment of EAC forces to the DRC to restore peace and stability. The region also had put in place an EAC-led dialogue facilitated by Kenya’s former president Uhuru Kenyatta. The dialogue is yet to bear fruit as tension between DRC and Rwanda have continued to escalate.
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Kinshasa snubbed any dialogue that will involve the M23 rebels, labelling them a terrorist group.
DRC continues to accuse Rwanda of supporting the M23 rebels who have caused insecurity in the eastern part of the country.
Kigali has repeatedly denied the allegations, accusing DRC of trying to cause insecurity in Rwanda and violating its air space.
Rwanda has in the past also accused DRC of violating Kigali’s territorial integrity.