Kenyan president heads to DRC amid peace efforts

Kenya's President William Ruto

Summary

  • Ruto will hold talks with Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi on various issues including the security situation in eastern DRC, his office said, before heading to South Korea later Monday.

Kenyan President William Ruto will head to Kinshasa on Sunday, his office said, amid efforts to try to bring peace to the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

His visit comes on the heels of a trip by Ruto's predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta, who is mediating in the DR Congo crisis on behalf of the regional East African Community bloc.

Ruto will hold talks with Congolese counterpart Felix Tshisekedi on various issues including the security situation in eastern DRC, his office said, before heading to South Korea later Monday.

Fighting has been raging in the east as the M23 rebel group makes territorial advances, sending tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes.

Kenya is due to host peace talks in the coming days, and has also sent troops to the DRC as part of a joint EAC peacekeeping force.

Kenyatta said Friday that Rwandan President Paul Kagame -- whose government is accused by Kinshasa of supporting the M23 -- was ready to help in efforts to press the rebels to cease fire and withdraw from captured territory.

During a visit to the east last Thursday, Kenyatta described the situation as a "humanitarian catastrophe".

Over 120 armed groups are active across the mineral-rich eastern Congo, many of them a legacy of regional wars that flared at the turn of the century. 

The M23 rose to prominence in 2012 when it captured the main eastern city of Goma, before being driven out and going to ground. 

But it re-emerged late last year, claiming Kinshasa had failed to honour a pledge to integrate its fighters into the army, among other grievances.