Ex-Kenyan leader visits key DR Congo city amid rebel crisis

Ex-Kenyan leader visits key DR Congo city amid rebel crisis

Former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta held a press conference in  Kinshasa ahead of his visit to Goma
Former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta held a press conference in Kinshasa ahead of his visit to Goma. Photo: Arsene Mpiana / AFP
Source: AFP

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Kenya's former president Uhuru Kenyatta arrived Tuesday in Goma, eastern DR Congo, AFP correspondents saw, as rebels from the M23 rebel group edge closer to the key city.

Troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are battling M23 fighters north of Goma, with the rebel group recently winning a string of victories and seizing swaths of territory in North Kivu province.

The crisis has cratered relations between the DRC and its smaller central African neighbour Rwanda, which Kinshasa accuses of backing the militia.

Kenyatta, a mediator for the seven-nation East African Community, arrived in Goma on Tuesday after visiting the Congolese capital Kinshasa, where he met senior government and United Nations figures.

"There is nothing that can be gained through the barrel of a gun," Kenyatta told reporters on Monday.

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The previous day, the EAC announced it would hold a round of peace talks aimed at defusing the crisis in Kenya's capital Nairobi on November 21.

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Over 120 armed groups roam eastern Congo, many of which are a legacy of regional wars which flared at the turn of the century.

A mostly Congolese Tutsi group, the M23 first leapt to prominence in 2012 when it briefly captured Goma before being driven out.

But the group returned late 2021 after years of dormancy, claiming the DRC had failed to honour a promise to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.

The DRC expelled Rwanda's ambassador late October after fresh M23 victories.

Despite official denials from Kigali, an unpublished report for the UN seen by AFP in August pointed to Rwandan involvement with the M23.

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Clashes in eastern DR Congo as envoy pursues 'dialogue' initiative

Rwanda accuses the Congolese government of colluding with Hutu militants who fled across the border after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

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Source: AFP

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