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East African regional troops complete DR Congo exit

Author: BBC | Published: Thursday, December 21, 2023

SSPDF troops that were part of the EACRF exit planes at Juba International Airport upon arrival from DR Congo. (Lul Ruai)

The final troops of the East African regional force are departing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, just over a year after they were deployed to quell rebel violence in the eastern part of the country.

The force – which comprised soldiers from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and South Sudan – began its exit earlier this month after DR Congo’s government declined to renew its mandate, citing concerns about its effectiveness.

The force’s Commander Maj-Gen Alphaxard Kiugu was on Thursday quoted by The East African newspaper as saying that the force achieved its mandate despite the “negative propaganda” it faced.

He further warned of the risk of armed groups, including the M23 rebel group exploiting the gap left by the force’s exit.

Soldiers from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) bloc are set to replace the East African force.

On Tuesday, the UN Security Council voted for the gradual withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force Monusco beginning this month.

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