EAC Regional Force Commander In DR Congo Resigns
Major General Jeff Nyaggah, overall Commander of the East African Community (EAC) Regional Force deployed under a peace mission in North Kivu province, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has resigned citing aggravated threats to his safety.
In a resignation letter dated April 27, 2023, and addressed to the office of the East African Community Secretary General, Nyaggah also cited a systematic plan to frustrate efforts of the EAC regional force in North Kivu province.
According to the letter, the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) Major General Jeff Nyaggah said there were attempts to intimidate his personal security at his former residence in Goma city by foreign military contractors whom he described as mercenaries.
The mercenaries according to Nyaggha placed monitoring devices, flew drones as well as conducted physical surveillance on his current residence in January 2023.
He also protests what he described as well-orchestrated and financed negative media campaigns targeting his personality and direct false accusations of the EAC regional force’s complacency in handling the M23 rebels’ group.
He also protests the suspension of the EAC regional force social media Facebook account with the influence of the DR Congo government.
He also accused the DR Congo government of failure to pay administrative costs including Force headquarters offices, staff officers’ accommodation, electricity, and salaries for civilian staff as per articles (9) (c) and (d) of the Status of the Force Agreement (SOFA).
He also that his security as the force commander is not guaranteed within north Kivu province. With frustration, Nyaggah adds that he has made the decision to exit the mission area.
DR Congo government is yet to release a statement commenting on Nyaggah’s resignation. William Ruto, President of Kenya has appointed Maj Gen Alphaxard Muthuri Kiugu to replace Nyaggah.
He appointed Nyaggah as the General Officer of Western Command (GOC WESTCOM) in Kenya. Kenya was the first country to deploy troops in North Kivu under EAC regional force in November 2022 to end insecurity caused by armed groups. They were followed by Burundi, South Sudan, and Uganda.
However, in DR Congo a section of residents, civil society activists, and politicians have been up in arms against the regional force over their failure to launch an assault against the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels that caused war against the government in March 2022.
But EAC regional force led by Nyaggah declined to bow under their pressure with an argument that they must follow steps that were agreed upon during several heads of states summit, by giving time rebels time to withdraw without a fight.
Anger on the locals, activists, and politicians increased in early April 2023 when Ugandan troops crossed through Bugagana to Kiwanja, and M23 rebels gave them a warm welcome.
Activists who expected gunfire were angry after seeing rebels giving way to Uganda troops to cross as well as showing readiness to withdraw for Ugandan troops to occupy. Some of the locals, activists, and politicians raised questions as to why Ugandan troops crossed into their country with an excavator and many armored tanks.