Military deployments in east DR Congo

Ugandan troops have been present in the eastern DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since November 2021. PHOTO/ FILE

A decision by East African leaders to strengthen security in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is gaining pace, with Kenya's recent announcement of a military deployment to the troubled region. 
Scores of armed groups roam the DRC's east, many of them a legacy of full-blown wars that erupted in the final decade of the 20th century.
The M23 rebel group, which Kinshasa accuses Rwanda of backing, has recently seized swathes of territory in eastern Congo, for example, inflaming regional tensions.
But there are also a proliferating number of conventional armies operating in the region. Here is a fact file on their deployments.

EAC regional force 
In June, the leaders of the seven-nation East African Community announced the creation of a regional military force to restore peace in eastern DRC.
The force will be under Kenyan command -- but details about its size and scope remain unclear.
A headquarters in eastern Congo's main city, Goma, is already in place, but troops have yet to arrive. 
The EAC comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda and the DRC itself.

On Wednesday, Kenyan President William Ruto announced that he was sending troops to the DRC as part of the EAC force. 
Kenya's military said that nearly 1,000 soldiers had received training, but did not specify how many soldiers would be deployed, nor when.
- Rwanda -
A contingent of Rwandan troops will be deployed along the border with its neighbour DRC as part of the EAC force.
Kinshasa objected to Kigali's participation in any operations within its territory over accusations that the country is backing M23 rebels.

Ugandan troops have been present in the eastern DRC provinces of North Kivu and Ituri since November 2021. 
They deployed as part of a joint operation with the Congolese army against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) armed group, which the Islamic State group claims as its Central African affiliate. 
In September, the operation was extended for two months pending the deployment of the East African force.
Ugandan troops are expected to operate under the regional force once it launches. The size of the country's current deployment is unclear.

Burundi sent troops to the DRC's South Kivu province, with which it shares a border, in August. The size of its deployment is unclear.
Burundian rebel groups have rear bases in South Kivu.
 South Sudan 
A South Sudanese contingent is expected to deploy to the northern Congolese province of Haut-Uele, with which it shares a border, according to a DRC army officer who declined to be named.

 United Nations 
Several other states have also deployed troops to eastern DRC as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the region, known as MONUSCO. 
The force has a current strength of about 16,000 uniformed personnel and it has suffered more than 200 fatalities, according to the UN.
Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are the top three military contributors to the peacekeeping mission.