By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Leaders of the African Union have met in Luanda, the capital of Angola, where they are appealing to all armed groups, including the M23 rebel group, Islamist-linked ADF and Hutu-militia FDLR to withdraw from Kenya, expressing the readiness of AU to ensure their reintegration into society.
This is part of resolutions reached at a quadripartite summit of four regional blocs which had in attendance heads of States and government of the East African Community (EAC), Economic Community of Central African States (Eccas), International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) on Tuesday.
They demanded an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in an effort to end the decades-long war, stating that the instability in mineral-rich east DRC is a concern all over the globe.
On Monday, the United States warned that withdrawing UN peacekeepers from the DRC, which Kinshasa has suggested take place after December elections would be premature.
The AU Commission chair, Moussa Faki Mahama in his address said the summit had taken note of “the progress made on the preparation for the pre-cantonment and cantonment sites for the disarmament of the M23 while underscoring the need to continue implementing the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reintegration Community Stabilisation (DDRC-S) Programme for ex-combatant.”
The summit, chaired by Comoros President Azali Assoumani, who doubles as the AU chairperson, also expressed concern for the non-compliance of the M23 to withdraw from the occupied territories as outlined in the Luanda Roadmap of November 23, 2022, and called for the establishment of humanitarian corridors.
The quadripartite summit hosted by Angola President João Lourenço and the AU Champion for Peace and Reconciliation in Africa and chairperson of the ICGLR was attended by Presidents Félix Tshisekedi of the DRC and Burundi’s Évariste Ndayishimiye, who chairs the EAC and the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for DRC and is the AU Champion for Youth, Peace and Security in Africa.
President Ali Bongo of Gabon and Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, who chair Eccas and the bloc’s Peace and Security Council, respectively, were also in attendance.
Kenya’s former President, Uhuru Kenyatta and the facilitator of the EAC-led Nairobi Process on the Restoration of Peace and Stability in eastern DRC also attended the summit.