The Kenyan general, Jeff Nyagah, has accused Congolese authorities of sabotaging the efforts of the regional force deployed in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to restore peace and stability. Nyagah resigned from his position as commander of the regional force and criticized the Congolese government for pressuring the force to rotate command every three months, which was not part of the current mandate. He also mentioned that the recent suspension of the EACRF’s Facebook account is an indication of possible sabotage of the force’s efforts.
Nyagah further stated that the DRC government has not paid administrative fees, including headquarters offices, staff officer housing, electricity, and civil staff salaries, in accordance with Article 9 (c) and (d) of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Nyagah cited security concerns and frustration as reasons for his resignation. The force, led by General Nyagah, is supposed to fight armed groups, including the M23. However, his statements, which advocated for a political process rather than open confrontation with the M23, caused tensions in Kinshasa.
The Kenyan President, William Ruto, immediately appointed a successor, but it is unclear if confidence will be restored quickly. Kinshasa doubts the effectiveness of this regional force and the sincerity of the EAC Executive Secretary. The authorities now condition the renewal of the force’s mandate on an honest evaluation and propose reducing the duration of the mandate, which was originally set for six months.
Major General Muthuri Kiugu has been appointed as the new Force Commander of the East Africa Community Regional Force (EACRF) in the DRC, replacing Major General Jeff Nyagah
According to several Congolese officials, the DRC is responsible for Nyagah’s departure. A spokesperson for the EACRF stated to Reuters that there have been changes within the Kenyan army, and Nyagah has been appointed elsewhere.
The controversy surrounding the mandate of the regional force is ongoing, with Kinshasa and EAC disagreeing on its objectives. While Congolese authorities believe that the East African coalition army has an offensive mission, regional leaders insist that it is a neutral force. The Kenyan Foreign Minister stated in Washington that Kenyan troops on the ground were not mandated to fight the M23 but to provide a corridor for groups fighting the Congolese government and those fought by the government to feel safe and start negotiating.