Kenya sends troops to DRC to join regional anti-rebel operation

© Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Kenya's president said on Wednesday that his country is deploying troops to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to join a new operation against a rebel offensive.

William Ruto said more than 900 military personnel would be dispatched to join the seven-nation East African Community regional force for a mission that he called necessary and urgent .

"We will not allow any armed groups, criminals and terrorists to deny us our shared prosperity," Ruto said, adding that the troops were on a mission to protect humanity.

Led by a Kenyan commander, the regional force also includes two battalions from Uganda, two from Burundi and one from South Sudan. Kenyan forces will be based in Goma, eastern Congo's largest city.

Officials in Nairobi declined to reveal the number of Kenyan soldiers involved, citing obvious security reasons.

Frustration with UN peacekeepers

The force is tasked with restoring security in eastern DRC and pushing back rebel groups, including the M23 rebels, who Congo says are supported by Rwanda.

Rwanda's government denies it is supporting the group and has accused Congo of backing another rebel group hostile to Rwanda.

On Tuesday, angry crowds in Goma set fire to United Nations vehicles, expressing frustration over what they see as the failure of the UN’s Monusco mission in protecting them from worsening militia violence.

(with wires)

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