EACRF blames truce violation for Kenyan peacekeeper’s death

Thursday October 26 2023

Kenyan soldiers serving under East African Community Regional Force patrolling Kibati in DRC on April 18,2023. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG


The East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) on Wednesday blamed a breach of ceasefire between Congolese and armed groups for the death of a Kenyan peacekeeper a day earlier.

The regional mission to which Kenya contributes troops confirmed a Kenyan soldier had died in a mortar fire following a clash between Congolese armed forces (FARDC) and the M23 rebel group.

But rather than take the line of Kinshasa, which blamed the M23, the EACRF blamed both sides for violating a ceasefire agreed on months ago.

Read: Congo army, M23 trade blame for ceasefire violation

“The ceasefire agreement between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 Armed group was breached,” the Mission said in a statement on Wednesday, referring to the October 24 incident.

“The hostile clashes fatally wounded a Kenyan peacekeeper stationed at Kanyamahoro, near Kibumba, 15km Northeast of Goma. Consequently, investigations under which this incident occurred have commenced.”


A DRC army spokesman has since blamed the M23 rebel group for the attack on EACRF.

Lt-Col Kaiko Ndjike, the spokesman for the Congolese army in North Kivu, said that “the M23 attacked with a mortar fire that led to the death on Tuesday of a peacekeeper from the EACRF.”

"After facing the determination of the FARDC (Congolese army) on the morning of Tuesday, when they attacked one of our positions, the M23, supported by the Rwandan army, directed their mortar fire at the advanced positions of the EACRF, with the aim of accusing the FARDC of being the perpetrators of the said fire and thus attracting the good graces and sympathy of the Regional Force, obviously creating a misunderstanding between the latter and the loyal forces of the DRC,” the Congolese army said in a statement on Tuesday.

In fact, the EACRF says the two sides should never have been clashing at all, owing to a ceasefire agreement reached earlier this year in Luanda for M23 to withdraw from their positions while the Congolese army prepares cantonment sites for the rebels.

Read: Leaders bet on cantonment to end eastern DRC battles

The violations mean both conditions in the ceasefire under what is known as the Luanda Process have been violated.

“The East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) calls for the return to ceasefire agreement and cessation of hostilities between the Armed Forces of the Democratic republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 armed Group.”

The M23 did not immediately react to the accusation.

The EACRF which deployed last year in November and has often refused to engage in direct combat with rebel groups in eastern DRC, choosing instead to work as a buffer for civilian areas.

However, the attack, the second in a week on EACRF, could signal direct threats to the EACRF positions, currently divided among troop contributors Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Burundi.