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Former Kenyan president wants warring parties in DRC to lay down arms

Uhuru Kenyatta in the DRC   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Former Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, arrived on Tuesday in the key eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma.

His visit comes as the country’s soldiers are engaged in renewed clashes with M23 rebels to the north of the city.

Security officials and local residents say the militia are battling troops just 20 kilometres out of town.

Speaking on Monday in Kinshasa, where he held talks with senior government and United Nations figures, Kenyatta called on all parties in the conflict to lay down their arms and nurture a sense of patriotism.

The ex-president is a mediator in the East African Community’s attempts to bring about peace in the east of the DRC.

People flee fighting

Recent fighting in the region has forced hundreds of already displaced people to flee their refugee camp south of Kibumba, and head toward Goma.

The M23 has seized swathes of territory in North Kivu province and is getting closer to the city, which is on the country’s border with Rwanda and is home to about one million people.

Kinshasa has accused Kigali of backing the mostly Congolese Tutsi militia, which is one of over 120 armed groups operating in the region.

The East African Community is to hold a round of talks next week in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, aimed at defusing the crisis.

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