Kenya to deploy army to eastern DRC to fight M23 rebels

Kenyan soldiers open fire on residents during clashes in the Mathari slums.

Uriel Sinai, Getty Images

  • On Wednesday, Kenya will send its army into DRC as part of the East African Community Regional Forces.
  • Burundi president Évariste Ndayishimiye makes last ditch call to regional leaders.
  • United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC remains mobilized for duty.

Recently elected Kenyan president William Ruto’s first test of war is deploying soldiers to the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to help fend off M23 rebels that have taken up critical positions in the mineral-rich North Kivu province.

The Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) will join the East African Community Regional Forces (EACRF) contingent.

“Deployment of Kenyan troops to the DRC follows a decision endorsed and adopted by regional leaders at the third EAC heads of state conclave on peace and security in the eastern DRC held in Nairobi in June 2022,” said Colonel Tom Mwanga of the KDF.

It was agreed in June that the EACRF should quell a flare-up in violence in the eastern parts of DRC.

However, that move was parked as they tried to give dialogue a chance.

READ | Peace dialogue in Nairobi pushed back as M23 rebels seize towns in eastern DRC

Talks are still the best way to end the conflict and from 21-27 November, Kenya will host stakeholders in Nairobi in an attempt to find a peaceful way forward.

Peace in the eastern parts of the DRC is critical for the country to hold credible general elections next year.

The deployment by Kenya comes as Évariste Ndayishimiye, Burundi’s president and EAC chairperson ensuring engaged Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, Kenya’s Ruto, Tanzania’s Samia Suluhu Hassan and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni in a last-ditch attempt at peace.

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) last week reassured the DRC government of support through “air support, intelligence, and equipment” in dealing with the M23 rebels.

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Monusco added that it “remains mobilized alongside the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to protect civilians”.

DRC and Rwanda blame each other for the flare-up in eastern DRC.

DRC is accused of working with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) to destabilize Rwanda. On the other hand, Rwanda is accused of supporting the M23 rebels in DRC.

The United Nations has pointed out on numerous occasions that Rwanda was to blame for the chaos.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained in do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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