Kenya will deploy troops to help DR Congo in its fight against rebels in the eastern part of the country, Kenya’s president has said.
The announcement was made in Nairobi on Nov 2 by president William Ruto. He handed over the national flag to the Kenyan contingent of the East African Community regional military force, created to support the DR Congo government in its fight against armed groups.
“As neighbours, the destiny of the Democratic Republic of Congo is linked to ours” The Kenyan head of state said.
No figures for how many troops are being sent were released.
In recent days the March 23 (M23) rebel movement has been making advances against the armed forces of the DR Congo in the eastern parts of the country.
President Ruto recalled that the East African Community regional force would also compose of “soldiers from Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan sent on mission to protect humanity”.
“We would not allow armed groups, criminals and terrorists to deprive us of our common prosperity”, the Kenyan president added.
Military sources in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, refused to reveal the number of soldiers in the contingent evoking “evident security questions”.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has for decades been fighting against about one hundred armed groups that have been visiting mayhem in the eastern part of the country.
There are already 18,300 peacekeeping soldiers of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO), which is the largest concentration of United Nations peacekeepers in one single country in the world.
The M23 movement, a former Tutsi rebellion, which was earlier defeated in 2013 resumed fighting by the end of last year and has for the past several months now been capturing new territory in eastern DR Congo.
On October 29, 2022, the M23 rebels captured the towns of Kiwanja and Rutshuru Centre situated on the main highway leading to Goma, the North Kivu provincial capital.
After several months of tension and accusations of aggression made against Rwanda by the Kinshasa regime, the Congolese government last week expelled the Rwandan ambassador to the DR Congo.
A report by UN experts commissioned by the UN Security Council had detailed the direct involvement of the Rwandan government by way of support to the M23 rebels in eastern DR Congo.
The resumption of tension between Congo and Rwanda has alarmed the international community and the African Union has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the two neighbouring countries.
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