The Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, has said if the East Africa Community (EAC) Regional Force decides to deploy in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it wouldn’t take them 24 hours to defeat the M23 rebels.
Lt Gen Elwelu made the remarks while meeting a European Union delegation led by the senior advisor to the EUs Foreign Service on emerging threats in the great lakes, Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean, Mr Charles Stuart, at the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs (MODVA) headquarters at Mbuya yesterday.
Lt Gen Elwelu said regional and international partners should come together to deal with the insecurity in eastern DRC. He added that the regional force needs logistical support to be effective and without it, it will not be easy to make an impact.
Mr Stuart said the EU is ready to support the EAC regional forces in DRC in a broader and holistic manner including infrastructure and cross border economic development to benefit the Congolese people and her neighbours.
The DRC considers M23 a terrorist group and has refused to have talks with its leadership. M23 rebels have continued to advance on various territories from Bunagana Town and have cut off two borders connecting Uganda to DRC.
Kenya and Burundi have already deployed in eastern DRC to fight negative forces including M23 rebels.
However, DRC declined to allow Rwandan troops to join the EAC operations, accusing it of supporting the M23 rebels but Rwanda has urged the DRC government to hold talks with the M23 rebels to end the fighting. It also DRC to stop harassing the Kinyarwanda speakers in the eastern DRC.
On Monday, a group of Congolese parliamentarians and civil society activists petitioned President Felix Tshisekedi to sever diplomatic relations with Uganda, accusing it of supporting the rebels.