Mission Accomplished: EACRF’s Success Story in Eastern DRC
In a notable development for the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF), Major General Aphaxard Muthuri Kiugu, the Force Commander, conducted the formal handover of mission instruments, including the East African Community (EAC) Flag, to Secretary-General Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The ceremony, held on Friday, 26th January 2024, marked the official conclusion of the year-long inaugural EAC military intervention in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The handover followed the expiration of the EACRF Mission Mandate and the withdrawal of troops on 21st December 2023.
During the ceremony, Dr. Peter Mathuki commended the EACRF for their dedication to the cause of peace in the region, acknowledging the challenging operational environment.
He praised the troops for their commitment to ensuring the security and safety of the people of East Africa.
Major successes of the mission were highlighted, including the protection of civilians, support to humanitarian agencies for accessing populations in need, and the opening up of roads in the conflict-ridden area.
Major General Kiugu emphasized that the deployment of EACRF troops from Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, and Uganda played a critical role in protecting civilians from armed groups operating in Eastern DRC.
The successful implementation of the EACRF’s mandate, aligned with the strategic guidance of the EAC Heads of State and operational directives, was acknowledged by Major General Aphaxard Muthuri Kiugu.
He underscored the professionalism of the soldiers as evidence of the mission’s successes, citing achievements such as facilitating the M23-FARDC ceasefire, dominating zones threatened by armed groups, and partially opening Main Supply Routes within the Joint Operation Area.
The Force Commander stressed that the exit of EACRF does not signal the end of the region’s desire for lasting peace and stability in Eastern DRC.
Instead, it should inspire continued regional efforts to address ongoing conflicts, transnational threats of terrorism, proliferation of small arms, and cross-border conflicts.
Expressing gratitude, Major General Kiugu thanked the EAC strategic leadership for their unwavering support and guidance during the mission.
He applauded the high level of professionalism exhibited by various contingents, showcasing the region’s military capacity, capability, and commitment to undertaking peace support missions both regionally and globally.
The ceremony was attended by key figures, including Brigadier General Gregoire Ndorarigonya, Deputy Force Commander Administration and Logistics (Burundi), Brigadier General Michael Kibuye, Chief of Staff (Uganda), Lt Col Gabriel Bulo (South Sudan Contingent Commander), Lt Col Gideon Koech – Deputy Operations Officer, Defence Liaison Officers and EAC Secretariat staff.