African Union Calls For Immediate Ceasefire In DR Congo

Peace talks are scheduled to begin in Nairobi, but fighting is intensifying in the eastern region of the country.

The African Union has declared that it is “extremely preoccupied” by the deteriorating security situation in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and has called for an immediate ceasefire.

There has been fighting in recent days in the eastern region of the country between the military of the DR Congo and the M23 rebel group.

“The AU calls on all the parties to establish an immediate ceasefire and respect international law, the security of civilians and the stability at the borders of all countries in the region”, the African Union declared in a statement on Oct 31. 

The statement was signed by the current chairman of the Union, Senegalese President Macky Sall and the AU Commission president Moussa Faki Mahamat.

“It also exhorts all the parties involved to engage in constructive dialogue within the context of existing mechanisms, the context of peace, security and the cooperation of the African Union for the DR Congo and the region, and for dialogue and inter-Congolese peace of the East African Community”, the statement said, adding that in this regard, it “calls on all the parties to participate in good faith in the third inter-Congolese peace talks” 

These are scheduled to be held in Nairobi, beginning on Nov 4.

The African Union has expressed its “total support for the Luanda roadmap aimed at normalising the political relations between the DR Congo and Rwanda” and encourages the Angolan president Joao Lourenco “to continue his mission as facilitator of constructive dialogue between the two brotherly countries of DR Congo and Rwanda”.

The DR Congo expelled the Rwandan ambassador to the DR Congo, Vincent Karega on Oct 29. Fighting has intensified in the eastern part of the country between the Congolese army and the March 23 (M23) rebels, whom the Kinshasa authorities accuse Rwanda of supporting, an accusation continuously denied by Rwanda.

The decision came after a meeting of the higher defence council of the DR Congo presided over by President Felix Tshisekedi who reported the “massive arrival of elements of the Rwandan army to support the M23 with a view to launching a general offensive against positions of the Congolese armed forces”.

The resumption of tension in the eastern DR Congo has also led to United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) raising the level of alert of its troops in support of the DR Congo army in their operations against the M23 rebels.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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