DR Congo + 4 more

Easing the Turmoil in the Eastern DR Congo and Great Lakes

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Fighting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is intensifying, with Ugandan and Burundian soldiers in pursuit of rebels and Congolese insurgents on the rebound. With help from its allies, Kinshasa should step up diplomacy lest the country become a regional battleground once more.

What’s new? President Félix Tshisekedi has allowed Uganda to deploy troops to fight rebels based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and is tacitly permitting Burundi do to the same. Rwanda appears to be considering its own incursion in the area. Meanwhile, a Congolese armed group, the M23, is regrouping.

Why does it matter? Tshisekedi’s decision to invite in foreign troops could roil the already unstable east by triggering proxy warfare or energising Congolese rebels. For years, rivalries among the DRC’s neighbours have spawned myriad insurgencies that they could use against one another. Uganda’s military campaign has particularly irked Rwanda.

What should be done? Tshisekedi should set rules for foreign intervention on Congolese soil, while intensifying efforts to dissuade Rwanda from deploying forces across the border. Drawing on Kenya for support, he should organise fresh talks with neighbouring countries to rethink further military action and develop a comprehensive plan for negotiations with armed groups.