The Congolese government announced this week that the East African Community (EAC) regional force must leave the DRC by December 8.
Vice Prime Minister and Minister of National Defense, Jean-Pierre Bemba, conveyed this message during an extraordinary meeting of the East African Community’s Sectoral Council on Defense Cooperation in Arusha, Tanzania, last Sunday.
Kinshasa remains dissatisfied with the EAC troops’ performance on the ground. On Monday, the government’s spokesperson, Patrick Muyaya, made it explicit, the EAC force is expected to depart the Democratic Republic of the Congo by December 8, coinciding with the extended mandate granted on September 5 by the EAC Heads of State.
The rationale, as per Patrick Muyaya, is straightforward: the force has not succeeded in resolving the issue for which it was deployed, primarily due to the M23’s ongoing activity, which disregards the pre-cantonment process for its fighters.
The government also announced the imminent convening of a meeting of regional heads of state to reach a decision on this matter.
This declaration comes as renewed fighting erupts between the M23 and pro-government self-defense groups.