Kenya to send troops to DRC to fight rebels

Kenya to send troops to DRC to fight rebels

President William Ruto announced on Wednesday that troops would be deployed to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a joint regional operation against a rebel offensive.

Armed groups in eastern DRC have stepped up attacks, revived old animosities and unleashed a surge in tension with neighbouring Rwanda.

The leaders of the East African Community EAC agreed in April to set up a joint force to restore security in the region.

Ruto said at a ceremony in Nairobi that the troops were on a mission to protect humanity. As neighbours, the destiny of DRC is intertwined with ours.

We will not allow armed groups, criminals and terrorists to deny us our shared prosperity. Kenya will command the force, which will include soldiers from Burundi, Uganda and South Sudan.

A Rwandan contingent will be deployed along the border after Kinshasa objected to Kigali's participation in any operations within the DRC.

Military officials in Nairobi declined to reveal the number of Kenyan soldiers involved in the conflict, citing obvious security reasons. A UN force, known as MONUSCO, is already operating in the DRC. Uganda and Burundi sent troops to the DRC earlier in the day, at the invitation of the Congolese government.

The M 23 rebels, a mostly Congolese group, resumed fighting in late 2021 after lying dormant for years, accusing the DRC government of failing to honour an agreement to integrate its fighters into the army.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission in North Kivu Province increased its alert level and increased support for the Congolese army after advances by the militia in the province of North Kivu last month.

Relations in Central Africa have been repercussions of the M 23 resurgence.

The DRC accuses Rwanda of backing the militia, claims denied by Kigali.

On Saturday, Kinshasa decided to expel Rwanda's ambassador. Rwanda accused Kinshasa of being on the path of continued military escalation. The African Union appealed for a ceasefire after the increase in violence.