The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has pulled back hundreds of troops from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), following a regional initiative.
This decision, made five days after military chiefs endorsed the withdrawal, aligns with an announcement by former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, the facilitator of the Nairobi peace-building process.
Kenyatta revealed a 72-hour ceasefire agreement between the government of DR Congo and M23 rebels, brokered by the United States, aiming to bring peace to the troubled region.
The East African Community (EAC) had deployed troops as the East Africa Community Regional Force (EACRF) to stabilize the restive eastern DRC.
However, after nearly a year, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi’s government accused the forces, which included troops from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, and South Sudan, of failing to neutralize the M23 rebel threat.
Uganda, specifically deployed where M23 had gained control, withdrew its troops, raising concerns about potential M23 resurgence amid the Congolese army’s perceived inefficiency.
Diplomatic efforts intensified, with the United States sending Avril Haines, the US Director of National Intelligence, to the region to de-escalate tensions.
A deal was reported, involving Rwanda withdrawing forces and military arsenal by January 1, 2024, and DRC grounding its drones.
The US would establish an intelligence fusion cell, sharing information with both countries.
These efforts culminated in a 72-hour ceasefire announced by Kenyatta, signaling a potential breakthrough in the peace-building process.