Kenya sends 1st Troop into rebel-hit eastern Congo

NAIROBI – Kenyan troops deployed under the banner of a regional bloc arrived on Saturday in troubled eastern Congo, where government forces are battling a violent rebel group that now controls some areas.

The troops are part of up to 903 Kenyan soldiers who will eventually be sent to eastern Congo, along with troops from other East African countries.

The head of the Kenya Defense Forces, General Robert Kibochi, said goodbye to the soldiers at Nairobi International Airport and urged them to be obedient during their deployment.

“We are known for following the law wherever we go. Respect defense chiefs wherever you go,” Kibochi said.

Kenyan forces will be stationed in Goma, the largest city in eastern Congo and the capital of North Kivu province, where M23 rebels and Congolese troops clashed violently on Friday.

Congolese authorities have accused Rwanda of supporting the rebels, which Rwanda denies.

Kenyan President William Ruto described the Congo mission as “necessary and urgent” for regional security.

The East African Community regional force agreed by leaders in June will also include two battalions from Uganda, two from Burundi and one from South Sudan, led by a Kenyan commander.

Violence by armed groups in eastern Congo has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Congo and Rwanda, in which the two neighboring countries have accused each other of supporting hostile armed groups.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Kenya sends 1st Troop into rebel-hit eastern Congo

Sarah Y. Kim

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