CEPGL legislators mull joint peacekeeping force

KIGALI - Heads of Parliament and Senates from the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL) urged their governments to form a joint military force to curb regional insurgencies.
L-R; D R Congo Senate President, Leon Kengo wa Dondo, Burundi Speaker Pie Ntavyohanyuma and Senate President, Vincent Biruta. (Photo J Mbanda)
L-R; D R Congo Senate President, Leon Kengo wa Dondo, Burundi Speaker Pie Ntavyohanyuma and Senate President, Vincent Biruta. (Photo J Mbanda)

KIGALI - Heads of Parliament and Senates from the Economic Community for the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL) urged their governments to form a joint military force to curb regional insurgencies.

The resolution was announced, yesterday, at the end of the two-day annual meeting held in Kigali.

Senate president, Dr Vincent Biruta, said that, top on the agenda of the meeting was to identify their role in promoting peace, security, and economic development among CEPGL member countries.

“This is a joint suggestion and we have agreed to table the proposal before our three countries’ executive organs for consideration,” he said.

CEPGL brings together Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Biruta added that Rwanda and Burundi already have peacekeepers in various countries, a fact that supports the idea of CEPGL having its own. 

Rwanda maintains a peacekeeping force in several countries, especially the troubled Darfur region of Sudan while Burundi has peacekeepers in Somalia.

The DRC’s Senate president, Leon Kengo wa Dondo, said his country still hosts a number of negative forces that distabilises the whole region’s peace.

“Rebel groups’ operations are difficult to stop. They don’t have clear bases to target,” Dondo said. “However, we cannot give up, we will pursue them wherever they are and joint forces are important in this case.”

Speaking at the joint press conference after the meeting, Belgium’s Speaker of Chamber of Representatives, Andre Flahaut noted that CEPGL peacekeepers will be key in fighting insurgency in the region.

He cited NATO as one successful joint effort, adding that the regional joint forces would pursue rebel groups for lasting regional peace.

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