Second batch of troops leaves for DR Congo

Thursday, November 17th, 2022 00:30 | By
Chief of Defence Forces General Robert Kibochi (left) and Kenya Air Force Commander Maj-Gen John Omenda see off DRC-bound soldiers at JKIA, Nairobi, yesterday. PD/Courtesy

The second batch of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers left for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday to join their counterparts from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

The 200 soldiers were flagged off by the Chief of Defence Forces Robert Kibochi at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and will be fighting the M23 rebels in the Eastern DRC in a joint regional operation.

Kenya will deploy a total of 903 soldiers and the first batch of the soldiers left on Saturday for the troubled region.

General Kibochi yesterday urged the troops to obey the law of the land they are deployed to, and most importantly, remember that their joint mission with other East African Community states was purely to enforce peace.

The team was accompanied by Major General Jeff Nyaga who is the commander.

“We will work with all stakeholders to ensure this region is stable,” he said in Kivu.

There has been rising tension between Rwanda and the DRC over Kigali’s alleged support for the M23, a rebel group.  Kinshasa claims Kigali is backing the M23 – a primarily Congolese Tutsi group – after clashes between its fighters and the Congolese army broke out last week in the North Kivu Province, which borders Rwanda.

On November 2, Kenya finally sent troops to the East Africa Community Regional Force (EACRF) base in the war-torn Congo after a delay that was occasioned by regional politics.

Kenya will join two battalions each from Uganda and Burundi and one from South Africa.

The deployment follows a decision endorsed and adopted by regional leaders at the third EAC Heads of State Conclave on Peace and Security in Eastern DRC held in Nairobi in June 2022.

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