East African Community (EAC) leaders last Monday agreed to send a regional force to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to quell the latest flare-up of violence that is sweeping across the northeast of the country. DRC President Felix Tshisekedi and Rwandan President Paul Kagame joined leaders of Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda, alongside Tanzania’s ambassador to Kenya to seek peace and call for the enforcement of an “immediate ceasefire”.

The regional force received its operational mandate and outlined its operational structure which stated that the EAC members need to work together to solve the region’s problems. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s government has sent in troops to help Congolese forces fight the Allied Democratic Forces, an armed group blamed for thousands of deaths in eastern DRC and a string of bombings in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

The meeting comes as heavy fighting revives decades-old animosity between Kinshasa and Kigali, with the DRC blaming neighbouring Rwanda for the recent resurgence of the M23 militia which initially gained global prominence in 2012 when it captured Goma, on the border with Rwanda. Rwanda has repeatedly denied backing the rebels, while both countries have accused each other of cross-border shelling. Tshisekedi urged Britain, in particular, to “pressure Rwanda to withdraw its troops from our land”, noting London’s controversial agreement to send asylum seekers to Kigali.

“Given the UK’s recent $150 million immigration deal struck with Rwanda, we hope that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be able to leverage his influence,” Tshisekedi said.

The importance of the peacekeeping force became obvious when a Congolese soldier was killed by Rwandan security forces after they claimed that he strayed 25 metres into Rwandan territory and opened fire on police officers.

The exclusion of Rwanda from the regional force is not enough to calm Congolese nerves. These events also put the government of Felix Tshisekedi against Goma residents–some of whom have protested against such an effort. If anything, a regional force echoes sad memories of the occupation of the Eastern Congo in the 1990s by the same regional countries whose excesses ironically formed the basis of the present animosity. For people who have this fear of history repeating itself, the absence of further details by the regional governments does not do much to allay such fears. It serves to further delegitimise the force and open it to allegations of abuse.

Finally, the refusal of Rwanda’s international partners to put a moratorium on partnerships with the country symbolised by the UK’s decision to have this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in Kigali does very little to inspire Congolese confidence that the international community have either taken sides with Rwanda, or they believe that Congolese security concerns are secondary to continued cooperation with Paul Kagame’s government despite its deeply concerning human rights and regional foreign policy actions.