Military deployments in east DR Congo
What you need to know:
- Scores of armed groups roam eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, many of them a legacy of full-blown wars that erupted in the final decade of the 20th century
Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers entered the east DR Congo border town of Bunagana on Friday as part of an East African regional military force, in the latest move to try to stabilise the troubled region.
Scores of armed groups roam eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, many of them a legacy of full-blown wars that erupted in the final decade of the 20th century.
People of east DR Congo reject idea of EAC regional force
The Ugandan troops are intended to supervise the gradual withdrawal of the M23 rebel group, which has conquered swathes of territory in eastern Congo and inflamed regional tensions.
But there are also a proliferating number of conventional armies operating in the region.
EAC regional force
In June, the leaders of the seven-nation East African Community (EAC) announced the creation of a regional military force to restore peace in eastern DRC.
The force is under the command of Kenyan General Jeff Nyagah, who since November has been based in Goma, a major city near which the M23 has concentrated its activity.
Fighting the M23 was at first seen as the force's main goal, but some leaders of the countries comprising it have since said it is only a "neutral" force.
The EAC comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda and the DRC itself.
Kenya, Burundi and Uganda have deployed troops to the DRC since the force's creation. In December, South Sudan said it would send 750 soldiers "as soon as possible", but they are yet to arrive.
The Angolan parliament approved sending around 500 troops to the DRC earlier this month, after the breakdown of a ceasefire between the Congolese army and the M23 that Luanda helped to negotiate.
Angola says their mission will be to supervise the disarming and reintegration of the rebels, but no date has been fixed for the troops' deployment.
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 rebels the Islamic State group claims as its Central African affiliate.
Burundi sent hundreds of troops to the DRC's South Kivu province, with which it shares a border, in August.
Burundian rebel groups have rear bases in South Kivu.
Several other states have also deployed troops to eastern DRC as part of the UN 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 United Nations.
Pakistan, India and Bangladesh are the top three military contributors to the peacekeeping mission.