The deployment and current posture of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) has registered significant milestones in North Kivu, having achieved full deployment in Eastern DRC.
The EACRF Commander Major General Jeff Nyagah, while addressing journalists from local and international media houses at the Force Headquarters in Goma, said the ongoing peace and stability efforts in Eastern DRC have seen holding of the ceasefire amongst warring parties for over one month and significant withdrawal of M23 from areas of Karuba and Mushaki – proximal to Sake – and Neenero, Kirolirwe, Kibirizi, Kitchanga, Rutshuru, Bunagana, Rumangabo and Kibumba.
The Force Commander said that the full deployment of troops to the multinational sector in Masisi and Rutshuru territories in North Kivu has enhanced the Protection of Civilians and created necessary conditions for the reopening of Kitchanga-Kirolirwe-Sake-Goma and Bunagana-Rutshuru-Rumangabo-Goma Main Supply Routes enabling free movement of people and goods.
Further, the Force Commander said that EACRF is collaborating with state and non-state actors in various areas including Information/Intelligence sharing and surveillance Demarcation and Delineation of Operational Boundaries; Battlespace management including Airspace Control among others towards achieving peace and stability in Eastern DRC.
The Kenyan Contingent (KENCON) Commander Colonel Daniel Rotich, while speaking at the Sector Headquarters in Rumangabo, a strategic military base ceded to the Kenyan troops, said that the Protection of Civilians remains key for KENCON who have facilitated a gradual return of Internally Displaced Persons to their homes in areas.
He added that the Kenya and South Sudan troops, co-located within Rumangabo and Tongo have heightened patrols in vulnerable areas prone to activities of the armed groups to deny them freedom of action.
The KENCON Tactical Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Denis Obiero assured residents of their protection in Kibumba and all areas under the Kenyan Contingent as the political process progresses towards ensuring peace is attained in Eastern DRC.
The Kibumba area Chief Gatambara Kaliwabo and locals appreciated the efforts of the regional forces deployed in the areas vacated by M23. “We can confirm that for the past two months, we have not seen the M23 around terrorizing locals,” said Chief Gatambara.
With the mission having achieved full deployment in the various parts of the Masisi and Rutshuru territories, more is expected in the near future as EACRF remains resilient, committed and determined to the peace and stability restoration process in Eastern DRC while upholding and respecting the DRC constitution, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the Congolese people.