Burundian troops under the East African Community Regional Force have deployed to Sake, Masisi territory in the ongoing deployment of regional troops in eastern DR Congo. According to the East African Community Regional Force in eastern DR Congo, the arrival of the troops in the region seeks to address the immediate threat posed by armed groups in the region. Burundi deployed its troops to eastern DR Congo as part of EACRF on Sunday, March 5. The Republic of Burundi deployed its troops to Eastern DRC as part of EACRF on Sunday, 5 Mar 23. The Burundi National Defence Forces troops are to deploy in Sake, Kilolirwe & Kitchanga in North Kivu as approved by the Heads of State mini-summit held in Addis Ababa on 17 Feb 23. pic.twitter.com/iBe2V2PgsR — EACRF DRC (@eacrf_DRC) March 5, 2023 The Burundi National Defence Forces troops are to deploy in the localities of Sake, Kilolirwe and Kitchanga in North Kivu Province as approved by the Heads of State mini-summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 17. Burundi’s deployment is part of the implementation of directives by the 20th Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State held on February 4, in Bujumbura, Burundi; the February 9 meeting of the EAC military chiefs; and Mini-Summit on Peace and Security in eastern DR Congo held on the side-lines of the 36th African Union Summit on February 17. ALSO READ: Burundi confirms plan to deploy troops to eastern DR Congo The regional force was deployed in November 2022 as a peace enforcement unit, with Kenya being the only country to first deploy troops to eastern DR Congo under EACRF. Uganda and South Sudan announced deployment plans, but their troops have not yet joined the EACRF operation. The initial deployment was in an effort to try to calm a deteriorating security situation especially after the resurgence of the M23 rebellion overshadowed the presence of more than 130 armed groups in eastern DR Congo, including the FDLR, a terrorist group sanctioned by the Security Council in 2013. Kinshasa objected to the idea of Rwanda also contributing troops to the regional force and it remains unclear whether Kigali could play a major role considering the regional leaders' directives during their February 4 Summit. ALSO READ: UN boss silent on genocidal militia but urges M23 to respect ceasefire Three staff officers from Rwanda serving at the EACRF headquarters in Goma were deported on January 30, – a move that raised concerns about Kinshasa’s commitment to the regional peace efforts. Relations between Rwanda and DR Congo have soured in the past two years. Kinshasa accuses Kigali of supporting the M23 rebels’ resurgence in eastern DR Congo, an accusation Kigali has denied. The Rwandan government maintains that the sustained collaboration between the Congolese army and armed groups in eastern DR Congo, especially the FDLR, is at the heart of the insecurity affecting the region. Lately, 17 provincial members of parliament in North Kivu have asked President Felix Tshisekedi to address the issue of FDLR’s presence in eastern DR Congo as part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the crisis. The FDLR, a UN sanctioned terrorist group based in eastern DR Congo for close to three decades, has launched attacks on Rwanda throughout the years, including in 2019 when fighters of its RUD Urunana faction killed 14 civilians in Musanze District in Northern Province. ALSO READ: Why Congolese army-FDLR alliance is an evil enterprise ALSO READ: Situation in eastern DR Congo a major human rights challenge – Biruta The militia group was founded by the former Rwandan government forces and militia that committed the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The Chairperson of the EAC Heads of State Summit, Burundi’s President Évariste Ndayishimiye, on March 2, held a consultative meeting with commanders of the verification mechanisms, with a view to review the progress and set up a joint verification framework in line with the directive of the February 17 Mini-Summit on peace and security in eastern DR Congo. The bloc’s quest to find a sustainable solution to the restoration of peace and security in eastern DR Congo has received support from across the globe. Rwanda has continuously reiterated its concerns about a selective and double-standard approach by the international community and the Congolese government to fighting armed groups in the region. ALSO READ: Belgian lawyer on why genocide ideology doesn’t dissolve three decades after dispersion of genocidaires In June 2022, Bintou Keita, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, expressed concern about the deteriorating conflict in the east of the neighbouring country. Keita especially expressed concerns over growing hostility targeting Rwandans and Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese in eastern DR Congo. The region has called for immediate ceasefire, withdrawal of all armed groups in eastern DR Congo and embracing of dialogue. The narrative by Kinshasa so far is that Kigali – which allegedly supports the M23 rebels against Kinshasa – is the aggressor, and the DR Congo is the perpetual victim. ALSO READ: Congolese MPs pressure Tshisekedi to address FDLR presence Rwanda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Vincent Biruta, told a high-level segment of the Human Rights Council, on March 2, that: “It is a dishonest political stunt to turn a domestic conflict about the fundamental rights of Congolese citizens into an accusation against Rwanda, right here in the Human Rights Council.” The dishonest political stunt of turning a domestic conflict about the fundamental rights of Congolese citizens into an accusation against Rwanda, Dr Biruta noted, “is a political tactic that always comes up” in DR Congo before elections, to whip up populist support and silence opposition. ALSO READ: Macron to DR Congo leaders: Do not look for culprits outside your country Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi on February 27 claimed that a conflict with rebels in the east of the country could disrupt preparations for general elections scheduled for December 20.