DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi and Kenya’s former president Uhuru Kenyatta, the East African Community (EAC) facilitator in DR Congo’s peace process, have agreed that foreign armed groups must lay down weapons or be removed.

Kenyatta arrived in Kinshasa last week as part of the regional efforts to find a lasting solution to the ongoing conflict between government forces FARDC and the M23 rebels.

According to an EAC statement, released after Tshisekedi and Kenyatta’s meeting of November 13-14, the two leaders urged all foreign armed groups to disarm or be “forcefully ejected.”

Tshisekedi and Kenyatta “reaffirmed the commitment to ensuring that foreign armed groups that do not voluntarily surrender and return to their countries of origin are forcefully removed from the territory of the DRC,” the statement read.

For over two decades, eastern DR Congo has been the sanctuary of over 120 local and foreign armed groups, who are responsible for various atrocities and terrorist activities, according to the United Nations.

Three notable foreign armed groups are the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) from Rwanda, RED Tabara for Burundi and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) from Uganda.

The FDLR is a group of militias whose members are accused of perpetrating the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and committing terrorist crimes in Rwanda.

Its splinter groups include CNRD, FLN, RUD-Urunana, and FPPH-Abajyarugamba.

It is not clear how the Tshisekedi and Kenyatta’s resolution will take effect, since the stern warning has been made previously but failed.

Speaking to The New Times recently, Frederick Golooba-Mutebi, a researcher and political scientist, said the insecurity in eastern DR Congo can only be brought to an end if the country works with Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda to uproot the militias.

“There’s only one way out of the current crisis and that consists of DRC recognising what the problem is and sitting down with countries like Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, and then coming up with a strategy among the four countries for tackling this problem,” Golooba-Mutebi said.

“As long as the FDLR, ADF and RED Tabara are in Congo, there is going to be no peace or stability.”  By , NMG