The Chiefs of Defence Forces/Staff from the East African Community (EAC) have adopted the exit of the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
DRC decided not to extend their mandate which was set to expire on December 8.
The Chiefs of Defence Forces adopted the exit decision following a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania on December 6.
“The CDF/S meeting upheld DRC’s decision and recommended to the EAC Defence Ministers that EACRF officially ceases its operation in Eastern DRC, with effect from December 8, 2023,” reads the EAC statement.
Following the meeting contributing countries are expected to begin withdrawing their troops from the nation in line with the exit plan.
Already, Kenya has withdrawn 300 troops and South Sudan is expected to withdraw 287 troops by the end of December 8.
The remaining troops including Uganda and Burundi contingents are set to commence withdrawal and backloading of equipment by air and road respectively from December 8 to January 7, 2024.
“The last component to leave will be the EACRF headquarters,” says the statement.
The meeting raised concerns about the ongoing clashes in the Joint Operation Area where the EACRF troops had been deployed.
The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, M23 and other armed groups have been urged to cease hostilities to allow the peace process to continue as they seek a long-lasting solution to security challenges facing the region.
DRC government has assured EACRF security and necessary assistance in their exit including movement from their regions to the Goma International Airport and through border posts.
EAC Chiefs of Defence forces adopt exit of EACRF from DRC whose mandate expires today; Kenya withdrew 300 troops other countries to withdraw by January 7, 2024.