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EAC Demands ‘Urgent Clarification’ From DRC on Expelled Rwandan Officers

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Dr Peter Mutuku Mathuki the Secretary-General of East African Community bloc has written to the Kinshasa government demanding an urgent clarification on why Rwandan military officers were expelled from the DRC.

Mathuki indicated in his letter that the East African Community learned with “concern” on January 30, 2023 of the expulsion of 3 officers from Rwanda who have been part of the East African Community Regional Force with Headquarters in Goma.

He reminded the Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula, that the deployment of the officers to the EAC Regional Force HQ in Goma to support the Regional Command Center was a decision of the Heads of State during their meeting on the peace process in eastern DRC held on the sidelines of COP 27 on November 7, 2022 in Sharm El Sheik in Egypt.

Dr. Mathuki said, the DRC concluded on September 8, 2022, a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the East African Community relating to the deployment of the Regional Force (EACRF) in east of the country.

He added that the DRC and the EAC agreed that the EACRF and its personnel will enjoy the privileges and immunities which are specified in the Agreement and the Protocol of the EAC on cooperation in defense cases under article 2 of the SOFA.

“In view of the above, the Secretariat would like to seek additional and urgent clarifications from Your Excellency, on the above decision,” the letter reads.

Kinshasa, which accuses Kigali of supporting the M23 terrorists who occupy several towns in North Kivu, had refused the participation of Rwanda in its agreement to the deployment of the regional military force of member countries of the AEC supposed to track down the armed groups active in the region to impose peace.

The high command of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) has formalized the expulsion from Congolese soil of Rwandan officers who are members of the General Staff of the regional force of the Communion of East African States in dated January 30.

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