Presidents Lourenço and Tshisekedi discuss security situation in east DRC

DRC and Angola Presidents

Félix Tshisekedi (left), the Congolese President, and João Lourenço, his Angolan counterpart.

Angola President João Lourenço has Saturday hosted his counterpart Félix Tshisekedi in Luanda for a three-hour private meeting over the security situation in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The meeting was held a day after Angolan parliament, approved a year-long deployment of up to 500 soldiers to the DRC after a ceasefire brokered in Luanda between M23 rebels and DRC government troops collapsed.

Regarding the meeting between the Presidents, it was a very positive one, as it resulted in the confirmation of the commitment to creating conditions for quartering areas for the Angola soldiers to be deployed to the DRC, Angola’s Minister of State and Military Head General Francisco Furtado said.

As for the situation on the ground, General Furtado said that the DRC government is still concerned about the need for all parties—DRC, Rwanda and M23-- to engage in the observance of the cessation of hostilities.

"In practice, there is a halt to hostilities on the ground, but this halt must be total, avoiding movements of forces from one side to the other," General Furtado told journalist Saturday in Luanda after President Lourenço and Tshisekedi meeting.

President João Lourenço who is also the chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has been hosting  apart from DRC’s Félix Tshisekedi, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Burundi’s Évariste Ndayishimiye over the DRC, Rwanda crisis.

He hosted his counterparts in his capacity as African Union mediator in the conflict.

In November, the Luanda Roadmap was developed and it calls for both DRC and Rwanda to respect each other’s territorial integrity and stop supporting rebels.

Supporting the group

Fighting resumed in late 2021 after the M23 accused the Kinshasa of ignoring promises to integrate its fighters into the army.

The DRC accuses Rwanda of supporting the group, something that Kigali has denied.

Earlier this month, the UN said that renewed violent clashes between non-state armed groups and government forces have sparked the latest emergency, with 300,000 people forced to flee their homes in North Kivu Province in February alone.

According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, another 20,000 fled at the start of the week and nearly 50,000 became displaced from the Kitchanga region in Masisi territory during the week of 17 February.

The resurgence of violence in eastern DRC has displaced more than 800,000 people since March last year, including towards the provinces of South Kivu and Ituri.

More than 130 armed groups operate at the border between DRC and Rwanda, including the M23 militia, which has in the past targeted Government forces and the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO.

The resurgence of violence in the region has displaced over 800,000 people since March last year, including towards the provinces of South Kivu and Ituri, the UN data shows.

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