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First batch of Kenyan troops land in DRC’s war-torn east

Kenyan soldiers landed in the city of Goma in eastern DRC, Saturday (Nov 12).First batch of Kenyan troops land in DRC’s war-torn east They were greeted by local dignitaries and Congolese forces in the region.

Their arrival comes as the M23 rebel group has surged across the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, capturing swathes of territory and inflaming tensions in the Great Lakes region.

“The instructions of the heads of state, but also the concepts, are very clear. The friends of Kenya are here on a purely offensive mission”, spokesman for the Congolese army in North Kivu, Colonel Guillaume Ndjile said.

The deployment of Kenyan soldiers comes after Kenya’s parliament approved the dispatch of just over 900 troops to the DRC.

The creation of a joint military force was suggested by leaders of the East African Community (EAC) back in June.

The commander of the unit deployed in DRC, Lieutenant-colonel Obiero Denis, detailed the objective of the troops. “We have a mandate to fulfil and it has four parts”, he told reporters.

“The first is to work together with our colleagues in the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) to eradicate the negative forces and the second is to work with the humanitarian community to assist the internally displaced”, he concluded.

The UN’s humanitarian agency estimates that recent fighting in North Kivu has displaced over 180,000 people.

The regional force will be under Kenyan command. Its total size however remains unclear.

Kanyarucinya area has been occupied by M23

First batch of Kenyan troops land in DRC's war-torn east

The head of the M23 occupies the area of ​​Kanyarucinya which is 5 kilometers from the entrance to the town of Goma.

The fighting between the M23 group and the FARDC, this evening at 18:00, the M23 group managed to capture the Kanyarucinya area in a 30-minute battle. ‘legs.

Our correspondent in Goma says that the government forces have fled to the center of the city. This happened within a few hours of the Kenyan army being dispersed in the city of Goma.

A senior FARDC soldier at the rank of Colonel who did not wish to be named told Rwandatribune that the FARDC headquarters is moving to Minova. While we were writing this story there were other reports that in the area known as 3 antennas controlled by the FDLR was also captured by M23.

Our reporter is in Goma and continues to say that many of the Congolese have started to flee towards Sake.

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