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Protesters in DR Congo’s Goma denounce EAC military force

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Congolese demonstrators attend a protest against the East African Community (EAC), which set up a regional military force last year to end rebel-driven unrest, in Goma, North Kivu province, Democratic Republic of Congo on February 6, 2023. (REUTERS/Djaffar Sabiti)

Thousands of people demonstrated on Monday in Goma of DR Congo, to protest the perceived inaction of the East African military force against the M23 rebel insurgency, according to the AFP.

The demonstrators accuse the UN and the East African Regional Force of failing to support the Congolese military operations against the M23 rebel group.

The M23 rebels have advanced in recent weeks and captured territories in the eastern region of North Kivu, while Pope Francis and other global faith leaders were in the country on a peace mission.

On Monday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse crowds who pelted stones and threw petrol bombs at the UN headquarters in Goma, BBC reports.

It is reported by AFP that the demonstrators erected barricades in several areas across Goma to protest the EAC force, with some looting shops and torching tyres.

“The regional force of the EAC came to fight, but that is not what we see,” Sankara Bin Kartumwa, a member of an activism group said to AFP journalist.

The seven-nation East African Community (EAC) approved the deployment of a military force to combat the rebels, with the first troops from Kenya arriving in Goma last November.

The regional leaders convened a three-day summit and directed troop-contributing countries including South Sudan and Uganda to deploy their forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The meeting also directed the DR Congo government to facilitate the deployment of forces from South Sudan and Uganda.

 

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