Kenya Defence Forces provided Strategic Airlift and Logistics Support to the South Sudan Contingent from Juba International Airport to Goma International Airport in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
On Sunday, an advance party of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) troops and their logistics, under the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF), arrived at Goma on board two Kenya Air Force Spartan CJ27 military transport aircrafts.
While in Juba, South Sudan President H.E Salva Kiir, in a statement read by the Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs General Chol Thon, expressed his confidence in the SSPDF troops under EACRF, in carrying out their mission professionally, as they are well-trained and oriented to uphold the International and Humanitarian Law.
Similarly, on Tuesday 3rd April 2023, the EACRF Deputy Force Commander Brigadier General Emmanuel Kaputa in the company of the Kenyan Contingent Commander Colonel Daniel Rotich and Force Headquarters Staff Officers received additional troops at the same airport.
The Deputy Force Commander implored them to work closely with their colleagues in the Joint Operation Area towards realizing peace and stability. “We have a mandate and mission as EACRF, that we must work hard towards its accomplishment,” said Brigadier General Kaputa.
Kenya’s Ambassador to South Sudan Samuel Nandwa appreciated the support by Kenya Defence Forces. His sentiments were echoed by the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs Deng Dau Deng who welcomed the brotherly support of Kenya and reiterated the government’s commitment to regional peace and Security.
The SSPDF Chief of Defence Forces General Santino Deng Wol thanked the Kenya Air Force Officers, saying SSPDF and KDF are brothers whose collaboration should continue even as they set out for the joint operation in Eastern DRC under EACRF.
The deployment of SSPDF marks the final phase of deployment for EACRF troops into Eastern DRC as directed by the Heads of State during the 20th Extra-Ordinary Summit held in Bujumbura on 4th February 2023.
The SSPDF will deploy to Rumangabo Forward Operating Base where they will be co-located with the Kenyan Contingent. Their arrival marks a critical and significant milestone towards enhancing peace and stability in Eastern DRC.
The full deployment of EACRF will enhance the sequenced and orderly withdrawal of M23 to the designated cantonment areas, Protection of Civilians, open up the Bunagana-Rutshuru-Rumangabo-Goma and Kitchanga-Sake-Goma Main Supply Routes and subsequently support the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery and Stabilization Program (P-DDRCS) of all armed groups in Eastern DRC.