President William Ruto has announced the deployment of troops to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in a joint regional operation by the East African Community (EAC) against a rebel offensive.
Armed groups in eastern DRC have stepped up attacks, sparking historic animosities and tension with neighbouring Rwanda.
In April this year, Leaders of the East African Community (EAC) agreed to establish a joint force to help Congo, which is Amber state, restore security in the region
According to Ruto, Kenya is sending more than 900 military personnel to join the regional force in DRC.
Ruto on Wednesday called the mission “necessary and urgent” for regional security and said he and the DRC’s president had agreed on how Kenyan forces would work with Congolese and other forces on disarming the rebels.
The Kenyan forces will be based in Goma, eastern DRC’s largest city.
The regional groups, which comprise of two battalions from Uganda, two from Burundi and one from South Sudan Will be led by a Kenyan commander.
The security crisis in Congo has sparked diplomatic ties with Rwanda; with the DRC accusing Rwanda of supporting the rebels, which Rwanda denies and instead accusing DRC of backing another rebel group hostile to the country.
Last month Kinshasa expelled Rwanda’s Ambassador to DRC, Vincent Karegato, and ordered him to leave the country within 48 hours after accusing Kigali of supporting M23 rebels.
“It is regrettable the Government of the DRC continues to scapegoat Rwanda to cover up and distract from their own governance and security failures,” Kigali said in a statement, adding that Rwandan forces at its border with DRC were on high alert.
The March 23 Movement (M23) launched an offensive in North Kivu, clashing with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) and MONUSCO in march 2022.
The M23 armed group has reportedly killed at least 29 civilians since mid-June 2022 in areas under their control, according to Human Rights Watch.