KINSHASA, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Uhuru Kenyatta, former president of Kenya, is to pay a 48-hour working visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from Friday, the Congolese presidency has announced.
According to the Congolese presidency, the visit of Kenyatta, who is also the facilitator of the East African Community (EAC) for the peace process in the DRC, comes at a time when the situation around Goma, capital of the eastern North Kivu province, is worsening due to "serial deadly attacks" by the rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23).
During this visit, Kenyatta will meet with DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.
In the midst of degradation in eastern DRC, the EAC initiated the Nairobi process in 2022, facilitated by Kenyatta. This process focuses on the implementation of the Demobilization, Disarmament, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program (P-DDRCS) for ex-combatants while authorizing the deployment of a regional force in the eastern DRC to flush out groups who refuse disarmament.
The M23 emerged from the rebel group National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), which laid down arms in March 2009, following a peace agreement stipulating that its soldiers would be integrated into the Congolese police and army, while the CNDP's political wing would become an officially acknowledged party.
A faction within the CNDP, however, subsequently denounced the poor implementation of the agreement and developed into the M23 rebel group, which took its name from the date of the peace agreement, in April 2012. It occupied Goma in late 2012.
After its defeat in 2013, the M23 lay dormant for almost a decade until late 2021 when it ramped up attacks again. In addition, the M23, which was deemed as "terrorist" by the DRC government in May 2022, took control of vast parts of the North Kivu province.
Despite a ceasefire that was to take place on Tuesday in "the entire eastern region of the DRC," Kinshasa accuses the M23 of making moves on the ground.
After a lull on the frontlines on Thursday, clashes resumed in several localities early Friday near the town of Sake in the province of North Kivu, considered the last lock on the road to the provincial capital, according to local media. ■