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Uhuru issues list of demands in a bid to end conflict in DRC

President Kenyatta called for the immediate deployment of regional force

A Congolese army pick up carrying trooops heads towards the front line near Kibumba in the area surrounding the North Kivu city of Goma on May 25, 2022 during clashes between the Congolese army and M23 rebels. - DR Congo soldiers fought M23 militiamen on several fronts in the troubled east of the country Wednesday, military and local officials said, with the government appearing to implicate Rwanda in the violent flare-up. (Photo by ARLETTE BASHIZI/AFP via Getty Images)

The conflict ongoing in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has drawn the attention of President Uhuru Kenyatta who has made a list of demands aimed at addressing the security situation.

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Through a statement released by State House, President Kenyatta reiterated that the ongoing conflict threatens to undermine the political process outlined on April 21 during the second regional Heads of State conclave on DRC in Nairobi.

One of the demands issued by President Kenyatta - who is also Chairman of the East African Community (EAC) - was the immediate cessation of hostilities. This month has seen a recurring conflict in Northern Kivu between DRC and Rwanda.

"I, therefore, call for an immediate cessation of all hostilities in the Eastern DRC and for all armed groups, both foreign and local, to lay down arms immediately and unconditionally and to commit to a political process," read Kenyatta's statement in part.

The president further declared some regions in the Eastern part of Congo as Weapons Free Zone. This is a zone where individuals or groups not legally or officially mandated to have weapons if found carrying will be disarmed.

"I further call for the declaration of Ituri, North Kivu (Bunagana, Bugusa, most parts of Petit Nord, Masisi, Lubero, Beni-Kasindi main axis) and South Kivu provinces as a WEAPONS FREE ZONE," stated President Kenyatta.

Aside from the demands, the EAC chair called for the urgent activation of an East African standby force. The force set up during the conclave aims to end decades of bloodshed caused by militant activity in DRC.

"I call for the ACTIVATION of the East African Regional Force under the auspices of the East African Community (EAC). The Regional Force is a component of the military/security enforcement track also provided for in the Communiqué adopted on 21st April 2022," concluded the President.

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