South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has announced that his country has sent a battalion of 750 soldiers to DR Congo under the East African regional force (EARF) tasked to restore peace in the country’s restive east, local media reports say.
According to Radio Miraya, a 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 DR Congo 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 DR Congo, 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.
Currently, peace talks between the Congolese government and multiple armed groups are going on in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.