Defence ministers discuss regional security, humanitarian situation

Defence ministers of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) met in Luanda, Angola, on Tuesday, to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in the region with special focus on Burundi, the Central African Republic, DR Congo, South Sudan and the terrorism menace.

Defence ministers of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) met in Luanda, Angola, on Tuesday, to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in the region with special focus on Burundi, the Central African Republic, DR Congo, South Sudan and the terrorism menace.

A statement received yesterday from Macdonald Mwakasendile, communication officer at the executive secretariat, said ICGLR Chiefs of defence staff and chiefs of intelligence and security services first met on Monday, ahead of the meeting of ministers of defence.

Burundi

Trouble has particularly been brewing in neighbouring Burundi, in the past weeks, amid persistent protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to run for a third term in office.

Events in the capital Bujumbura, and the entire country, took a dip when, on April 26, Burundi’s ruling CNDD-FDD political party picked Nkurunziza as its candidate for what would be his third term in office, two months to the June 26 presidential elections.

Due to the pre-poll violence in the country, more than 50,000 Burundians have since fled to Rwanda, Tanzania and the DR Congo, in the past few weeks, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Now, East African Community (EAC) Heads of State will hold an extraordinary session in Tanzania, today, in an attempt to calm the growing political tension in Burundi.

Meanwhile, the meetings convened by Angola as the Chair of ICGLR were to, among others; receive reports from the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism and Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre– based in DR Congo.

The Chief of Intelligence and Security Services of Kenya briefed Monday’s meeting on the threat of terrorism in the Great Lakes Region.

The meeting of Ministers of Defence precedes the Summit of Heads of State and Government due on May 18, 2015 in Luanda, which will consider the report of the meeting of Chiefs of Defence Staff and Chiefs of Intelligence and Security Services and the briefs from the Defence ministers.

The ICGLR’s member states include Angola, Burundi, Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

The meetings have also attracted representatives of the African Union, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), and the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region.

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