Burundi Deploys Soldiers to Regional Force in Congo

Burundian soldiers have been deployed to the restless eastern Congo as part of a recently created East African regional force to respond to the rising insecurity.

Spokesman of the Burundi army, Col. Floribert Biyereke, told pressmen on Monday: “…Our soldiers have been received officially. They are in Congo on an official mission.”

The Congolese army spokesman, Lt. Marc Elongo also confirmed the deployment, adding that the task is to track down “all foreign and local armed groups in order to restore peace” in the mineral-rich region bordering Rwanda and Uganda where several of armed groups operate.

The DR Congo and Rwanda have remained at loggerheads over Congo’s accusation of Kigali as supporting the recently resurgent M23 rebel group, in part led the East African Community to create the regional force earlier this year.

Rwanda went on to accuse Congo of backing another rebel group, the FDLR, which Rwanda considers a threat.

Although Burundi also borders Congo, the presence of its soldiers has raised concerns.

The soldiers are expected to dislodge another rebel group known as the RED-Tabara. The group has been accused of carrying out attacks in Burundi.

Hundreds of Burundian forces are believed to have been quietly deployed in Congo for several months ahead of the latest mission.


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