East African Force: the first Kenyan troops in eastern DRC

The first Kenyan soldiers arrived in Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Saturday as part of an East African regional force in the troubled region, AFP journalists said.

Two planes carrying around 100 Kenyan soldiers landed in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, where they were greeted by local dignitaries, AFP journalists noted.

The Kenyan parliament on Wednesday approved the deployment of 900 soldiers as part of this East African force to stabilize eastern DRC, which has been plagued by attacks by armed groups for nearly three decades.

This deployment comes at a time when heavy fighting pits Congolese troops north of Goma against the rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23), a former Tutsi rebellion which took up arms again at the end of 2021 and conquered several localities in Rutshuru territory at the end of border with Uganda.

This news of violence has caused renewed tension between the DRC and Rwanda, accused by Kinshasa since the beginning of the year of active support for this rebellion.

A confidential UN report consulted by AFP in August pointed to Rwandan involvement with the M23 and American leaders also mentioned the help of the Rwandan Defense Forces to the M23.

But Rwanda denies and in return accuses the DRC – which also denies – of collusion with the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda), a movement of Rwandan Hutu rebels, some of whom were involved in the genocide of the Tutsi in 1994 in Rwanda.

Several diplomatic initiatives are underway.

One of them is led by the Angolan Head of State, João Lourenço, who chairs the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL).

He met his counterpart Paul Kagame in Rwanda on Friday. And is expected Saturday in Kinshasa to meet the President of the DRC Félix Tshisekedi.

Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, facilitator appointed by the Community of East African States, is expected in Kinshasa on Sunday for “a 48-hour working visit”.


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