Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) operating under the East Africa Community Regional Force (EACRF) in DR Congo on Friday, December 23, took over Kibumba area, one of the M23 rebels’ strongholds.
Led by KDF Maj Gen Jeff Nyagah, Kenyan soldiers took over the area that is located 30kms North of Goma town after intense military mobilisation.
The M23 rebels withdrew from Kibumba in compliance with the Luanda mini-summit communique of November 23, 2022.
“The withdrawal and subsequent takeover by the East Africa Community Regional Force (EACRF) in areas under their control is a positive indicator that the agreed upon strategy of restoration of normalcy in Eastern DRC are on course, challenges therein notwithstanding,” read part of the statement.
The recent gains mark a major milestone in the ongoing efforts to restore peace and stability in Eastern DRC where the rebel group has been waging war against the government.
Reports show that M23 rebels' activities in Kibumba have resulted in deaths and displacement of a large number of people.
EACRF is now working on modalities to ensure that M23 rebels are assisted for an orderly withdrawal from all areas under their control to the original position within Sabinyo.
The East African forces have asked for an immediate cessation of hostilities by all armed groups and respect for the Sovereignty and territorial Integrity of the DRC.
“We appreciate the commendable efforts by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, FARDC, the Ad Hoc Verification Mechanism and other state and non-state actors for seeing us through the process.
"This is the beginning of a critical process of resettling Internally Displaced Persons, opening of Main Supply Route - RN2, Protection of Civilians and facilitation of humanitarian assistance to the local populace,” the statement read.
The East Africa Community Regional Force (EACRF) was deployed in June 2022 after East African Heads of States approved the deployment of a regional force to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
After meeting in Nairobi, in June 2022, the East African Heads of States instructed their forces to partner with the Congolese Army to defeat the armed M23 rebels.
The forces have been working with humanitarian agencies to ensure aid reaches the population.
Kenya Defence Forces took up the role of direct engagement with M23 Rebels immediately after deployment.
They have also been participating in the disarmament, demobilisation, community recovery and stabilisation programme.
- . . .