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EAC forces to stay longer in DR Congo

By Mamer Abraham

East African Community Heads of State have extended the mandate of the East African Regional Force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The regional heads of state on Tuesday resolved at the 22nd Extraordinary Summit in Nairobi to extend the mandate of the forces by three months from September 9, 2023, to December, this year.

A communiqué shared by the EAC Secretariat said the extension will be followed by an evaluation report of the force by the regional bloc’s council of ministers.

“The heads of state agreed to extend the duration of the mandate of the EACRF and the status of forces agreement for a further period of three months as from September 9, 2023, to December 8, 2023, pending an evaluation report from the council of ministers,” the communiqué reads in part.

According to the communiqué, the forces had registered notable performance during their stay in the DRC through the successful restoration of peace and stability.

“Took note of the operational milestones achieved by the EAC Regional Force towards the restoration of security in the Eastern DRC, pursuant to previous directives of the summit on the implementation of the EAC-led Nairobi process,” the communiqué continued.

It added that the heads of state had appreciated the African Union Commission (AUC) for its donation of $2 million for the EACRF.

Protect flag.

While dispatching the SSPDF troops for the peacekeeping mission in December 2022, President Salva Kiir Mayardit warned them to refrain from immorality and burglary as they offer their services in the DRC but protect the integrity of the flag and the reputation of the country.

“We are going to defend a foreign country. You should therefore distance yourselves from women and young girls. You shouldn’t also forcefully take property from civilians,” Kiir warned.

The head of state also warned the forces against party politics or division on tribal lines, stressing that they were from a unified national army.

“I want to tell you that you are one national army. You are going on a mission as a soldier from South Sudan. There are no soldiers for SPLA or SPLA-IO, but you are all from one wing without division or discrimination,” he said.

 SSPDF dispatched.

In February, the South Sudan government dispatched 750 forces to the EACRF to restore peace and stability in Eastern DRC, which had experienced an insurgency by M23 rebels.

Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are some of the countries in the region that have contributed forces for the peacekeeping mission in Eastern DR Congo.


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