Major General Aphaxard Kiugu, the commander of the East African Community Regional Force, has applauded the EACRF peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the admirable job they are doing in carrying out their mission and ensuring the safety of civilians, the free flow of goods and services, and aid workers.
At the Force headquarters in Goma, DRC, Maj. Gen. Kiugu addressed the EACRF Contingent Commanders from the countries that provided troops, including the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces, Burundi National Defense Force, Kenya Defense Forces, and Uganda People’s Defence Forces.
The purpose of the meeting is to allow the Joint Forces to discuss and follow up on operational EACRF issues from the time that it was in its current posture as well as provide highlights of the most recent technical evaluation exercise of the four EACRF contingents, the UPDF, BNDF, SSPDF, and KDF, in order to enable the force to assess its success in accordance with the mission and mandate of the EACRF.
Maj. Kiugu tasked the Regional Joint Force commanders to cooperate, maintain a positive working relationship, and open communication among themselves while conducting kinetic military operations in their various areas of responsibility.
“I urge all of you to follow the rules of engagement, standard Operation procedure, and status of Force Agreement (SOFA) while in your day-to-day kinetic operations,” Maj Gen Kiugu said.
He called upon the EACRF forces to conduct regular patrols and engage the community to ensure that they attain the trust and confidence of the local populace so that normalcy prevails in an effort to consolidate the peaceful dividends so far attained.
He further urged the commander to be cautious about the complex situation in the entire DRC and tasked them to remain committed to the military track and mindful of the ongoing peaceful process.
However, Maj. Kiugu cautioned the commanders against interfering with the politics of the DRC and reminded them that the DRC is a sovereign State and whatever they do should be in support of the DRC government as mandated.
Deputy Force Commander for Intelligence and Operations Brig Gen Emmanuel Kaputa, Deputy Force Commander for Administration and Logistics Brig Gen Ndorarigonya Groggier, and EACRF Chief of Staff Brigadier Michael Kibuye were also present, along with senior staff officers from Force headquarters.