Chiefs of Defence Forces (CDFs) from East African Community (EAC) Partner States on 6th June 2022 met at Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, to agree on the initial modalities of establishing a regional force, that will assist in the restoration of peace and security in the Country.
The meeting by the Chiefs is a follow up of the Heads of States Conclave held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 21st April 2022 that directed on planning, accelerated establishment and urgent deployment of a regional force to commence with immediate effect; to help contain and, where necessary, fight the negative forces in Eastern DRC.
DRC Chief of General Staff General Célestin Mbala Munsense welcomed the CDFs to DRC, Goma, and thanked them for attending the meeting. He reiterated the willingness to restore peace in Eastern DRC and the East African sub-region by the EAC Heads of State.
“It is on the basis of the recommendation by the EAC Heads of State Conclave in Nairobi that the President of DRC instructed me to invite you to this strategic meeting to implement the Military/Security Enforcement Track,” said the host.
CGS stated that the regional Heads of State have called upon the local Armed groups to surrender and lay down their arms unconditionally, cease hostilities and return to their countries of origin.
Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi appreciated DRC for the warm welcome and excellent hospitality.
General Kibochi, who is also the Chairman of the Committee of Chiefs of Defence Forces of the EAC Partner States, noted that Congo was admitted as a new member into the EAC, technically expanding the community from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic. “This will not only expand the community’s market by an additional 90 million people, but will also enhance the regional economic and social cooperation and allow citizens to share experiences,” he said.
The CDF further said that for this aspiration to be fully realised, “peace and security is of utmost importance and this is the very reason we are meeting in Goma today.”
General Kibochi further emphasized, “peace and security agenda is a critical pillar in anchoring the EAC’s integration process subsequently, security and stability in Eastern DRC is vital for regional prosperity as it will provide a conducive environment upon which all other aspects of regional integration shall thrive. We must therefore collectively as a region, support efforts to address security challenges and restore peace and stability in the Eastern DRC to allow our people exploit the full potential offered by regional integration.”
He also said that options for force sustainability ought to be given the highest priority with a clear coordination mechanism with other actors within the theatre will be necessary to guarantee synergy in operation.