The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Francis Ogolla has commended troops under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) troops for achieving significant milestones since their deployment in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The CDF said this during his command visit to DRC on Saturday, 2nd December 2023, when he visited EACRF Force Headquarters and addressed Kenyan troops stationed in Goma, Kibumba Forward Operating Base, and Kibati Logistics Base within Nyiragongo territory, North Kivu.
He reiterated Kenya’s commitment to continue participating in regional peace initiatives until Eastern DRC realizes peace and security.
While addressing the Kenyan troops at the Force Headquarters, General Ogolla commended their professional conduct under EACRF and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). General Ogolla noted the partial return to normalcy in all areas where EACRF troops were deployed.
He said their professionalism contributes to Kenya’s recognition as a key contributor to Peace Support Operations in the region and beyond. Kenyan troops comprised those serving with EACRF and MONUSCO.
“We must always act professionally within the law and respect the constitution of the Host Nation. I must thank the Government of DRC for being a great host and for providing the necessary support to EACRF despite the inherent challenges,” said the CDF.
He called on the troops to remain unified and vigilant, as the EACRF mission enters a transition phase following the non-renewal of the EACRF mandate by the Host Nation beyond 8th December 2023, and the planned deployment of the South African Development Community (SADC) troops.
A similar message was delivered to troops at Kibumba Forward Operating Base and Kibati Logistics Base, where General Ogolla emphasized the need for collective responsibility of the East African Community to protect the Congolese people.
“When given a mission, be focused, keep track of your progress, and do your part until the mission is complete. In any international mission, we must always respect and appreciate each other’s values, culture, and customs,” said the CDF.
The CDF’s visit comes at a time when the security situation in Eastern DRC is uncertain following the breach of the ceasefire.
While in DRC, the CDF met officers serving with both organizations and, in addition, those from the EAC Monitoring and Verification Mechanism and Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism.
Since its deployment, EACRF has been successful in preventing an imminent threat to Goma town, and Goma International Airport, and enabled the withdrawal of M23 from areas close to Goma along Nationa Road number 2 and Provincial Road number 1030. As a result, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo and M23 entered into a ceasefire agreement that has been holding until it was breached in October 2023.
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