First batch of South Sudanese troops land in eastern DRC

A first batch of South Sudanese soldiers arrived in Goma, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, April 2.

The group of at least 45 soldiers is joining a regional military force in the region wracked by the M23 rebellion.

The seven-nation East African Community (EAC) military force was created last June. It is due to oversee the withdrawal of M23 fighters from eastern DRC.

Much of the region is plagued by dozens of armed groups, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.

Since re-emerging from dormancy in late 2021, M23 rebels have captured swathes of territory in North Kivu province and advanced within several dozen kilometres of its capital Goma.

Several regional initiatives intended to defuse the conflict such as ceasefires have failed to materialize.

March 30 was supposed to mark the end of the withdrawal of “all armed groups”, according to a timetable adopted in mid-February by the EAC.

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