Kenya Defence Forces battalion will today be deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo, as part of the East African Community Regional Forces peacekeeping mission to dispel M23 rebels that have taken up critical positions in the eastern North Kivu province.
(A group of KDF soldiers arriving Jomo Kenyatta Airport. Photo Source: AFP)
Kenyan President, William Ruto, is scheduled to preside over a flagging-off ceremony in Nairobi for the contingent.
The first operation of the Kenyan contingent will be to help recapture the border city of Bunagana that was seized by the M23 rebels in June.
Since September, some Kenyan troops have been installing logistical support systems in DR Congo in readiness for the planned operations against the rebels.
The East African Community had agreed on a troop deployment deal to combat rebels early this year, but it was suspended to give dialogue a chance.
“Deployment of Kenyan troops to the DRC follows a decision endorsed and adopted by regional leaders at the third EAC heads of state conclave on peace and security in the eastern DRC held in Nairobi in June 2022,” said Colonel Tom Mwanga of the Kenya Defence Forces.
Peace in the eastern parts of the DR Congo is critical for the country to hold peaceful and credible general elections next year.
Kenya will host stakeholders in Nairobi from 21-27 November in an attempt to find a peaceful way forward, as Burundi’s President, Évariste Ndayishimiye, who doubles as East African Community Chairperson has engaged Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Kenya’s William Ruto, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni for the talks.
The DR Congo has constantly accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 group; an allegation Kigali denies.