EACRF troops finally leave DRC amid fresh chaos fears

Chief of Defence Forces Gen Francis Ogolla officially received the KDF team back in the country.

In Summary
  • The last team departed Congo soil on Thursday 21, 2023.
  • EACRF's commander Maj Gen Aphaxard Kiugu said the contingents from four countries have sufficiently addressed the conflict and helped to restore partial calm in the region.

The East African Community Regional Force (EACRF), the security troops deployed to the war-torn Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have all been withdrawn from the region. https://rb.gy/f5qqbn

The KDF last troop from Eastern DRC arrives at Embakasi Garrison on December 21,2023
The KDF last troop from Eastern DRC arrives at Embakasi Garrison on December 21,2023
Image: ENOS TECHE

The East African Community Regional Force (EACRF), the security troops deployed to the war-torn Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have all been withdrawn from the region.

The last team departed Congo soil on Thursday 21, 2023.

This comes amid fears of fresh chaos in the region.

Chief of Defence Forces Gen Francis Ogolla officially received the team back to the country.

He said the team met its mandate by among others degrading the threat in the area.

He said the peace efforts in eastern DRC will go on to ensure the region is stable.

“We did much for the period we were there and we are proud of the team. We pledge that the peace efforts will continue in the region,” he said at Embakasi Garrison, Nairobi.

EACRF's commander Maj Gen Aphaxard Kiugu said the contingents from four countries have sufficiently addressed the conflict and helped to restore partial calm in the region.

The conflict had been occasioned by the notorious armed group March 23 Movement (M23) which captured areas bordering Rwanda and Uganda.

This prompted the  EAC heads of state from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan to approve the deployment of their troops in November 2022.

Kenya's troops - Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) - were the first to be deployed and managed to calm threats in Goma, the capital of the eastern region of North Kivu, where there was a huge penetration of the M23 rebels.

The Burundi team followed on March 2023 and took positions in Mubambiro and later moved to Kirolirwe, Kitchanga and Mweso.

Later in April 2023, Uganda's troops arrived in Congo's soil and pitched camp at Bunagana and later in Chengerero, Kiwanja and Mabenga. 

South Sudan's team was deployed on the same day as Uganda's contingent and joined the KDF who both extended deployments into Tongo and Mulimbi. Major Gen.

Kiugu noted that the troops in the Joint Operation Area (JOA) have since facilitated a ceasefire between the M23 rebels and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).

He added the ceasefire, though, breached later, reduced threats from other armed groups and assured the safety of civilians.

"Albeit fragile, the ceasefire lasted from 07 March to 06 October 2023, when it was breached following the resumption of hostilities between M23 and FARDC," said Maj Gen Kiugu.

The EARCF has also been lauded for partially opening the main supply routes, preventing direct threat on Goma and Sake towns which resulted in the gradual return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their rural homes.

The troops also allowed the co-existence of communities in the region by engaging leadership organisations and also helped the advancement of humanitarian activities in the area.

Despite the successes, Maj Gen Kiugu however noted that the areas vacated by EACRF have been occupied by the armed forces including the M23 rebels.

Lauding all players who supported the peace mission, Maj Gen Kiugu urged them to continue supporting the ongoing and future interventions geared towards finding lasting peace and stability in Eastern DRC.

"Citizens of North Kivu and Eastern DRC in general, deserve to live in secure and humane conditions and with equal chances of prosperity just like their brothers and sisters in other parts of DRC," he said.

The withdrawal began on December 3 when two contingents of around 100 Kenyan soldiers flew out of the airport in Goma.

The peace-building process had been facilitated by Kenya's former president Uhuru Kenyatta who led the East African Community (EAC)-led Nairobi Peace Process.End

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