The East African Community (EAC) regional force began its withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday morningafter Kinshasa deemed it ineffective and refused to renew its mandate.
The regional bloc first deployed troops in the violence-plagued region in November last year after the resurgence of the M23 rebel group.
DRC authorities at the time invited the EAC to deploy its forces to free the areas taken by the rebels.
But the future of the deployment was thrown into doubt after DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi accused the force of cohabiting with the rebels rather than forcing them to lay down arms. Following a summit on 25 November, the EAC announced that the DRC “would not renew the mandate of the regional force beyond 8 December 2023”.
A first group of around 100 Kenyan soldiers from the regional force — which also includes Ugandan, Burundian and South Sudanese soldiers — left from Goma airport bound for Nairobi, according to a spokesman for the force on the ground who did not provide more detail on further withdrawals. Read more