Kenyan contingent withdraws from DR Congo as EAC RF exit underway

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The East African Community (EAC) reaction force (RF) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is presently in a transition phase ahead of “planned deployment of Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops” according to the Kenyan Ministry of Defence.

The transition is underway with the EAC force exit starting last Friday (8 December) and set to be finished by 7 January. As per a reported decision by EAC chiefs of defence forces, following an EAC exit plan report by a defence experts working group, the withdrawal will be done in three phases over the four-week period. The working group recommended FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) move into EAC RF positions.

The Kenyan contingent will exit eastern DRC in “an orderly manner” during the transition, Deputy Kenya Army Commander, Major General David Tarus, is reported as saying when welcoming Kenyan troops at Embakasi Garrison in Nairobi.

Ahead of the withdrawal, Kenyan Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), General Francis Ogalla, addressed Kenyan troops stationed at Kibumba forward operating base (FOB) in Goma and the Kibati logistics base in North Kivu’s Nyiragongo territory.

The Kenyan contingent of the EAC RF first deployed into eastern DRC in November 2022 and racked up a number of successes, according to the Ministry of Defence. These include preventing an “imminent threat” to Goma airport and enabling an M23 withdrawal from “areas close to Goma”. This led to a short-lived DRC/M23 ceasefire. The achievements, Ogalla said, were a credit to the military strategy of deterrence through “presence, posture and engaging local communities”.