Main rebel group M-23 agreed to withdraw fighters from the DRC’s North Kivu province and follow a strict cease-fire.
This emerged after a meeting between the M-23 rebel leaders and former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa.
“In a demonstration of goodwill and willingness to work towards the settlement of the situation in North Kivu, the leaders of the M-23 agree to continue with an orderly withdrawal and to adhere to a strict cease-fire,” the office of the former president said in a statement.
North Kivu had been the most volatile region in the entire Eastern DRC but that has changed in the last four weeks when displaced persons began returning to their homes.
The meeting also agreed that the withdrawal process would continue to be verified by both the East African Regional Force and the ICGLR Verification Mechanism to ensure the safety and swift return of all the displaced citizens and refugees to their homes.
The M-23 rebel leaders urged Kenyatta, who is the facilitator for the East African Community peace process in the Eastern DRC to assist in assuring that there is safety in the DRC and that citizens’ rights are upheld and recognised.
They also asked Kenyatta to ensure that all local and foreign armed groups fighting in eastern DRC also lay down their arms, cease any fighting or attacks on the M23 and seek a resolution of the conflict through peaceful means.
The statement said the group also appealed for an end to hate speech claiming it could jeopardise the peace process which Kenyatta promised to personally get involved in stopping.
EACRF announced that it had taken control over the strategic Rumagambo following the withdrawal of M23, signifying another milestone in the ongoing efforts to bring peace and stability to Eastern DRC.
The rebel group has also vacated Kibumba, which has been taken over by EACRF troops.
The rebels are expected to subsequently withdraw from Kishishe.
The Chief of General Staff (CGS) of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC), Lieutenant General Christian Tshiwewe on Wednesday, January 11 2023 visited EACRF Headquarters in Goma, North Kivu to understand its operations.