The Kenyan commander of the East African Community Regional Force deployed to halt the advance of an armed group in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has resigned.
In his resignation letter, Major General Jeff Nyagah said he was leaving because of concerns for his safety after consistent harassment by forces he described as ‘mercenaries’.
He also spoke about the impact of “well-orchestrated and financed negative media campaigns” against him personally, but also making “false accusations” about the regional forces alleged complacency in its handling of the M23 militia.
The group took up arms in 2021, conquering large swathes of territory in the DRC’s North Kivu province.
Kinshasa accuses neighbouring Rwanda of supporting the M23, a claim corroborated by United Nations experts and Western countries, although Kigali denies it.
There are thousands of soldiers – including from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and South Sudan - in the East African peacekeeping force.
They are tasked with trying to calm deadly tensions fuelled by armed groups in the region where the embattled population is impatient for effective peace.
The eastern DRC has been plagued by violence from multiple armed groups for nearly 30 years. The East African Community has been attempting to bring about peace in the province.