Why elite Kenyan soldiers are being sent to DRC

This is the second brigade sent to DRC

Kenya Defence Forces send 200 troops to Eastern DRC to fight militia

200 Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers have been deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to help neutralize militia in the Eastern DRC.

The KDF personnel will link up with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO). The UN established MONUSCO in 1999 to monitor the peace process of the Second Congo War.

The 200 were flagged off by Vice Chief of Defence Forces (VCDF), Lieutenant General Francis Ogolla on Monday, August 22.

During the ceremony, Lt. Gen Ogolla encouraged them to hoist the Kenyan flag high by upholding a high sense of integrity, professionalism and discipline.

“Over the years, Kenya has sent troops in various peace keeping missions and have been commended for their courage and professionalism. As you go there, protect the face of Kenya since you’re not only representing KDF but the entire country,” said Lt. Gen Ogolla.

According to KDF, the personnel was flagged off at Embakasi Garrison "after undertaking a five-month rigorous pre-deployment training that was geared towards making them mission ready ahead of the deployment."

The troops are the second Quick Reaction Force (QRF) deployed to DRC. The first batch was deployed in June 2021 as peace keepers operating at Mavivi in Beni Eastern Congo.

The Kenyan troops, led by Liuetenant Colonel Abdul Galgalo, joined Tanzania, South Africa and Nepal to form the Force Intervention Brigade.

The first troop in April this year, conducted a secret mission that led to the neutralisaton of an unidentified number of terrorists in Mavivi.

The Brigade's main mission was to neutralise the spread of ADF also known as Islamic State of DRC, an affiliate to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ADF is responsible for many attacks across North Kivu and Ituri Provinces in eastern DRC.

Under the leadership of Seka Musa Baluku, ISIS-DRC has been notorious in this region for its brutal violence against Congolese citizens and regional military forces, with attacks killing over 849 civilians in 2020 alone.

The ADF was previously sanctioned by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the United Nations under the UN Security Council’s DRC sanctions regime in 2014 for its violence and atrocities.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury also sanctioned six ADF members, including leader Seka Musa Baluku, in 2019 for their roles in serious human rights abuse, with a subsequent UN sanctions listing for Baluku in early 2020.

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