There’s a risk of proxy wars in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned.
Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda are suspected of supporting different insurgent groups.
Intensifying hostility among neighbouring countries threatens a return to the kind of regional war that previously tore the region apart, ICG says in its latest security briefing on the region.
There are numerous armed groups in the eastern DR Congo and the web of alliances is complicated and evolving.
The ICG report says that if DR Congo’s neighbours escalate their support for their proxy groups in eastern DR Congo, the result could lead to a regional security crisis.
All this is being played out in the volatile eastern provinces, where attacks by militias and rebel groups have been on the rise.
The same areas saw fighting on a huge scale from 1998. That conflict involved nine African countries, and led to the deaths of millions of people.
The DR Congo’s President Félix Tshisekedi appears to have tried to ease tensions by facilitating regional discussions.
The ICG report says he should build on those efforts to find a diplomatic solution.
But the report strongly warns against plans floated by President Tshisekedi to invite Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda to conduct joint military operations with DR Congo troops.