Bujumbura: EAC heads of state call again for an immediate ceasefire in eastern Congo

Bujumbura: EAC heads of state call again for an immediate ceasefire in eastern Congo

In a most extraordinary way, the heads of the East African community members states met in Bujumbura, the economic capital of Burundi, this Saturday, February 4, 2023. The security situation in eastern Congo was at the heart of the discussion in the summit attended by all the presidents except the South Sudanese who was represented. In the final communiqué, it was decided that the protagonists must lay down their arms for an immediate dialogue. The summit observed that the security situation in eastern DRC is a regional issue that can only be permanently resolved through a political process. He highlighted the need for enhanced dialogue between all parties. But local armed groups demand prerequisites including the departure of foreign armed groups based on Congolese soil to “capitulate”. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The heads of state in the sub-region demanded an immediate ceasefire for all armed parties including all foreign armed groups and ordered the chiefs of the defense forces to meet within a week and establish new deadlines for the withdrawal and recommend the appropriate deployment plan, said Peter Mathuki, General Secretary of the EAC who read the final statement.

Furthermore, the summit demands that this process be accompanied by dialogue.

“Violations should be reported to the Chairman of the Summit for an immediate consultation with Summit members.”

According to the final communiqué, the colleague invites all troop-contributing countries to deploy them immediately and urges the Democratic Republic of the Congo to “facilitate as soon as possible the deployment of troops from South Sudan and Uganda to the East African region Force”.


Another important point concerns finances. Countries like Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda have pledged to contribute financially.

Apart from this community, other funds are from the United Nations, the African Union, the United Kingdom and Senegal.

No family photo

During the summit, dozens of journalists present at Ntare House (Office of the Burundian President) had been prepared for a family photo.

To everyone’s surprise, the President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan left before the closing of the activities.

Everyone thought of an emergency.

The situation worried many when President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda left a few minutes later.

“Misunderstanding! A bad omen. Oh! My poor Congo,” muttered a journalist from the Congolese delegation. He sighs.

As the family was no longer complete, the planned family photo with stickers stamped with images of each country, showing where each of the 7 personalities should stand, was not taken.

The statement closing the summit was read in the early evening.

  • Long-awaited Kagame in Burundi*

Finally, Burundians saw Kagame in their country after nearly 10 years. Burundi and Rwanda, two neighboring countries in the Great Lakes region of Africa have just normalized their relations, which have been strained since 2015. On the sidelines of this summit, in addition to the hug between Presidents Ndayishimiye and Kagame which is believed to convey a message, the two men had a tête-à-tête.

Even if their communication services did not reveal what the discussions were about, most observers believe that Mr. Ndayishimiye did not fail to repeat to his counterpart his greatest wish, that of the Burundian authorities: “the handing over of alleged putschists exiled in Rwanda after the failed coup against his predecessor in May 2015, to face trial in Burundi”.

“No doubt that President Kagame asked his host to ask some of his collaborators to stop collaborating with the Rwandan genocidaires FDLR and to no longer let his territory serve as a path for members of armed groups fighting the government of Kigali from their base in South Kivu,” said a journalist specializing in the Great Lakes region.

Answers from armed groups

Some armed groups reacted to the demands of the Bujumbura summit. This is particularly the case of the Mai Mai Biloze Bishambuke.

“All foreign armed groups must return to their countries of origin, in particular the M23 supported by Rwanda, the Red Tabara, FDLR, Imbonerakure, FNL, Forebu, CNRD… because there is no movement of self-defense of Congolese origin which is in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda to cause insecurity in these countries and destabilize them”, reacted Aimable Nabulizi, spokesperson for the Mai Mai Biloze Bishambuke.

For this rebel group, which describes itself as a self-defense movement, the buffer zones in North Kivu must be abolished.

“If the EAC came to help the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo), it must go to the front lines to attack the M23, otherwise the regional force must be replaced in the DRC because it is at the service of the M23”, accuses Nabulizi who also criticizes Rwanda and Uganda for supporting the M23. Rwanda has always denied accusations that it supports the former Tutsi rebellion which took up arms again at the end of 2021, accusing the Congolese authorities of not having respected its commitments on the reintegration of its fighters.

Tshisekedi raises his voice*

In a video, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi is seen talking to Kenyan President William Ruto and the regional force commander, Major General Jeff Nyagah, who is of Kenyan origin.

“You didn’t come to support the M23 and it’s a shame that the population is attacking you. You came to help us, you didn’t come to have problems. So pay really attention to that, answer the questions of the population, communicate with the population”, insisted the Congolese head of state in a stern tone.

The regional force decided by the heads of state of the East African community at the end of June 2022 is perceived by part of civil society, politicians, authorities and Congolese pressure groups as being “accomplice”. It’s accused “attacking the M23” and of “serving only as a referee”.

Recently, several people including journalists were injured in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province in a demonstration against this force.

According to local journalists, a similar demonstration of the kind is planned for this Monday in the largest city in eastern Congo.

This Sunday, several young people took to the streets of Goma and blocked a main avenue to “denounce the outcome of the Bujumbura summit”.

“This Monday, a large-scale demonstration is planned,” said a local journalist.

The police cleared the street, according to local sources.

During his recent trip to Kinshasa, the Congolese capital, Pope Francis called for “an end to the violence” in eastern Congo”, reproaching the international community for “having resigned to the violence which is devouring the Congolese people”. The sovereign pontiff met the representatives of the victims of the atrocities committed in the east of the vast country of central Africa and told them “your suffering is my suffering”.

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