Rebel group M23 has officially handed over Kibumba, a territory, which lies 20 Kilometers from Goma in Eastern DRC to the East African Community Regional Force.
The armed group has also pledged to withdraw from key positions it has occupied, in what it says is a gesture of goodwill made in the name of peace.
The DRC’s government had refused to negotiate with the rebel group unless it followed the resolutions set during the mini-summit of Heads of State, which was held in Luanda, Angola on November 23, 2022.
According to M23 political spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuka, the rebel group hopes that the Kinshasa government will seize the opportunity with both hands and work to establish peace in the DRC.
The handover that took place in Kibumba was overseen by the commander of the East African Community Regional Force, Maj Gel Jeff Nyagah, who encouraged the people who had left Kibumba to come back as it is now safe.
Maj Gen Nyagah invited humanitarian agencies to bring aid to the people of Kibumba, and all regions in Eastern DRC.
The commander gave a stern warning to anyone who attacks innocent civilians.
“For anyone who attacks innocent civilians, the EACRF will deal with them without further warning. We will not continue watching innocent civilians getting killed. As the EACRF we will continue to respect the constitution of the DRC, the sovereignty of DRC and we will continue working with the FARDC and anyone else who wants peace for the people of DRC,” said Maj Gen Nyagah.
These remarks come after M23 killed 131 civilians in Kishishe and Bambo in Rutshuru, Eastern DRC, and raped at least 22 women and five girls, in late November.
The Kenya Defense Forces deployed 900 troops to Goma, in Eastern DRC to enforce peace under the EACRF. The troops will be in Goma for a period of six months.