Kenyan troops prepare to board a plane back home to Nairobi. PHOTO @ChroniclesRW

EAC Regional Force Begins Withdrawal from DR Congo

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The East African Community (EAC) Regional Force has started to withdraw from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Kenyan contingent, part of the EAC Regional Force, departed from the Goma airport in the eastern North Kivu province on Sunday morning, following the DRC authorities’ decision to deem the regional force ineffective.

After a summit held on November 25, 2023 the EAC officially announced that the DRC “would not renew the mandate of the regional force beyond December 8, 2023.”

Since November 2022, this regional force, consisting of Ugandan, Burundian and South Sudanese elements, has been stationed in the eastern part of the DRC in response to renewed conflicts between the DRC military and the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels.

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi intends to replace the EAC Regional Force with a force deployed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). However, details about this deployment remain unclear, with plans indicating a deployment within a few months without specific clarification.

The withdrawal of the EAC Regional Force coincides with the DRC’s preparations for presidential, legislative and local elections scheduled for December 20, 2023. Notably, several areas in eastern DRC, still under rebel occupation, will be excluded from these elections due to inadequate voter registration.

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