The Congolese armed forces’ spokesperson, Maj Gen Sylvain Ekenge, said Kinshasa asked the regional force to repatriate Rwandan officers from Congolese territory due to “security reasons.”
Mathuki said the deployment of the officers of the regional force in Goma to support the Regional Command Centre was a “decision of the heads of state at their meeting on the peace process in eastern DRC on the sidelines of the COP 27 on November 7, 2022 in Sharm El Sheik in Egypt.”
Mathuki further reminded Kinshasa that EAC and DRC agreed that the regional force and “its personnel shall enjoy the privileges and immunities which are specified in the agreement and the EAC Protocol on Cooperation in Defence Matters.”
Mathuki said the secretariat “would like to seek further and urgent clarification” on the decision to expel Rwandan officers.”
The development underscores the growing tensions in DRC over the armed conflict in North Kivu.
Over the last two weeks, sporadic protests have broken out in several parts of eastern DRC over the deployment of the regional force. Protesters accused the regional force of failing to confront rebels as they continue to put up stiff resistance against DRC forces and capture new territories.
The regional force comprises militants from Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and Burundi. Kinshasa opposed the deployment of Rwandan soldiers under the regional force arrangement but allowed only three officers as observers in Goma.
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