M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo agreed Thursday to adhere to a cease-fire and withdraw their forces from North Kivu province — the most volatile area in the country with more than 120 armed groups.
The rebels agreed after meeting with former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast.
The rebels, “agreed to continue to respect and cooperate with the East African Regional Force that has now begun to take control of the areas vacated by the M23,” said Kenyatta, who is the East Africa Community facilitator to the Nairobi Process on Peace and Security in Eastern Congo.
Kenyatta, hosted Bertand Bisimwa, chairperson of the M23 rebel group. who was accompanied by senior political and military leaders.
M23 leaders requested Kenyatta help ensure safety in the Congo, citizen rights are upheld and recognized and all local and foreign-armed groups fighting in eastern Congo lay down their weapons, cease fighting or attacks on the rebels and seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
The meeting was part of the Nairobi Peace Dialogue between Congolese armed groups and the Congolese government, geared toward restoring peace and security.
The situation in North Kivu, which was the most volatile in the conflict in eastern Congo, has improved with stability and security during the previous four weeks, according to Kenyatta’s office.
Many who had previously been evicted from their homes have started to return.
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