South Sudan troops join other EAC forces in DRC in peacekeeping mission
JUBA, South Sudan - African newest state -South Sudan has announced that they will send a battalion of 750 soldiers to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a peacekeeping mission in the eastern part of DRC.
They join Uganda, Kenya, and Burundi who have both answered the call to join the East African regional force tasked to restore peace in the country’s restive eastern part of Goma and Northern Kivu.
Radio Miraya -a local media station owned by the United Nations mission in South Sudan, President Kiir said the troops will soon be deployed to eastern DRC.
“South Sudan has contributed a battalion of 750 soldiers to the East African regional force,” Kiir is quoted as saying. “These troops will be deployed to the DRC to help stabilize the eastern region.”
They will join over 900 Kenyan troops who arrived in Goma in mid-November. Uganda also said it would send 1,000 soldiers under the EAC force. Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye said his country would also contribute to the regional force.
Leaders of the East African Community (EAC) resolved to send a joint force to deal with multiple armed groups in the DRC after the country joined the bloc in April as the seventh member state.
The resurgence of the M23 rebel group in May this year prompted regional and international efforts to bring an end to the decades-long insecurity in eastern DR Congo, where over 120 armed groups roam.
As the Nairobi talk between the Congolese government and multiple armed groups continues in Kenya’s capital city, the M23 rebels have been sidelined from the talks after Kinshasa labeled them a terrorist movement.
Speaking at the third Inter-Congolese dialogue, former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta called on all parties to the conflict to open their minds to peace and said foreign armed groups must be disbanded.
“We are here as part of the East African Community to find a way and work with you to find peace. A peace that the Congolese have not seen for more than 20 years,” Kenyatta said in Swahili. “Some children have never set foot in a classroom because of the conflict, and some men never got the opportunity to farm their land to bring themselves out of poverty because of conflict.”
Officials present at the ongoing Nairobi inter-Congolese dialogue said some 53 rebel groups have accepted a ceasefire, including the M23 rebel group.