Congo recalls envoys to Kenya and Tanzania over alliance launch in Nairobi

A M23 rebels stand with theirs weapons during a ceremony to mark the withdrawal from their positions in the town of Kibumba, in the eastern of Democratic Republic of Congo, on Dec. 23, 2022. The accounts are haunting. Abductions, torture, rapes. Scores of civilians including women and children have been killed by the M23 rebels in eastern Congo, according to a U.N. report expected to be published this week. (AP Photo/Moses Sawasawa, File)
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KINSHASA,- Democratic Republic of Congo recalled its ambassadors from Kenya and Tanzania for consultations on Saturday after a new Congolese military alliance that includes rebels was launched in the Kenyan capital.

Alain Tshibanda, spokesperson for Congo’s foreign ministry, made the announcement on the X platform.

The envoy to Tanzania was recalled because Tanzania hosts the headquarters of the East African Community, which Congo also belongs to.

Earlier on Saturday, the Kenyan embassy’s head of mission had been summoned to the foreign ministry in Kinshasa. The Kenyan government could not immediately be reached for comment.

On Friday, Congolese politicians and groups including the M23 rebels, who have seized territory in eastern Congo, and Corneille Nangaa, a former Congo election commission chief, launched the Congo River Alliance in Nairobi.

Speaking at the launch, Nangaa, who was sanctioned by the U.S. for corruption and obstructing the 2018 election, said the alliance would bring together various Congolese armed groups, militias, social and political organisations.

“I am looking for a lasting solution; all communities must live together in Congo,” Nangaa told Reuters on Saturday.

Congo is due to hold presidential and legislative elections on Dec. 20.

The new alliance is an additional concern in a region where insecurity has persisted for decades, fuelled by ethnic rivalries and a tussle over land and resources with regional implications.

Bintou Keita, head of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUSCO), said in a post on X that she was “extremely concerned by the creation of a new political-military platform”.

Source: Reuters