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South Sudan's troops in regional force follow Kenya out of eastern DRC

Soldiers from the South Sudan People's Defence Forces at the airport in Juba, South Sudan Monday, April 3, 2023.   -  
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Samir Bol/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Over 250 South Sudanese soldiers left on Friday the Democratic Republic of Congo's east.

The contingent left in three rotations throughout the day, according to a military source.

The soldiers took off from Goma, bound for Juba.

After the Kenyans, the South Sudanese are the latest group from an East African Community (EAC) regional force to withdraw fromeastern DRC.

The regional force includes Uganda, and Burundi who are set to leavein the coming weeks.

The seven-nation EAC first deployed troops in the violence-plagued eastern DRC in November 2022. They deployed at the invitation of the DRC authorities and were tasked with overseeing the withdrawal of M23 fighters from eastern DRC.

But the DRC's President and local residents accused the force of cohabiting with the rebels rather than forcing them to lay down arms. Kinshasa then refused to renew the force's mandate.

Analysts believe the DRC looks to replace the EAC soldiers with tropp from the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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