'We have no choice,' President Ruto says he will deploy KDF troops to DRC

'We have no choice,' President Ruto says he will deploy KDF troops to DRC

President William Ruto during his inaugural address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 21, 2022.

President William Ruto has refuted claims that deploying Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) soldiers to help ease the conflict in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will negatively affect the country.

The Head of State said that just as the United Nations (UN) has deployed its forces to help in peace mediation and battle the M23 rebels, Kenya being part of the East Africa Community (EAC) will also chip in to help the Central African nation.

He noted that every country within the EAC, which DRC is currently a part of, had unanimously resolved to add to the 12,000 required troops who would help the UN to end the conflict.

"It is our neighbourhood, we have no choice. We wish this could be done by someone else but if we don't get involved, it will get worse," Ruto said in an interview with Al Jazeera.

"The decision to have the East African Standby Force (EASF) was made in consultation with the UN so there wouldn't be any possibility of conflict. Kenya is contributing troops to UN Force in DRC but we are also contributing troops to the EASF."

The President dismissed claims that he was subjecting Kenyan soldiers to a new war following the aftermath of the AMISOM in Somalia, reiterating that the need to stabilise the region is the duty of every nation since countries in the EAC mutually depend on one another.

"The conflict in Somalia is a Kenyan conflict, by and large, the challenges in Eastern DRC are Kenyan challenges. Eastern DRC is served by Mombasa Port, 50% of all imports go through our country, we have a commercial relationship, we are neighbours,” he stated.

"These are not responsibilities we can run away from...peace in DRC, peace in Somalia, equals to peace in Kenya."

Likewise, the Commander-in-Chief clarified the issue that Rwanda was orchestrating the attacks against DRC saying it was not a matter of who was at fault but rather an issue of how to attain a ceasefire.

He said that he had held talks with Heads of State of both DRC and Rwanda and they had agreed to find a common ground of peace.

"President Paul Kagame has been forthright that they have nothing to do with M23. There are others who think otherwise. Both Presidents Felix Tshisekedi and Kagame are committed to making sure we solve the problem as a region and that is why all our countries are contributing troops to stabilise that region," he said.


Citizen Digital DRC Rwanda KDF Citizen TV Kenya President William Ruto

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