South Sudan’s military said it is preparing to send a battalion of 750 soldiers to DR Congo under the East African regional force tasked to restore peace in the country’s restive east.
“The forces are still under training near Juba. The government is working to look for military equipment. But I can confirm that the forces have not yet been deployed to Congo,” Major General Lul Ruai Koang, Spokesman of the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) has said.
Asked if the forces were selected from the unified forces created under the 2018 peace agreement, Lul said:” Those forces belong to SSPDF only; they were drawn from the various units of the SSPDF, Military Police, National Security and Engineering Corps.”
The added that the government is working on the issue fo logistics to facilitate the foreign deployment.
The military officer did not, however, state the day the deployment will be effected.
In August, the cabinet approved 6.69 million US dollars to deploy troops in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The South Sudanese forces to be sent to Congo will join over 900 Kenyan troops who arrived in Goma in mid-November. Uganda also said it would send 1,000 soldiers under the EAC force.
Leaders of the East African Community (EAC) resolved to send a joint force to deal with multiple armed groups in Congo after the country joined the bloc in April as the seventh member state.
The resurgence of the M23 rebel group in May this year prompted regional and international efforts to bring an end to the decades-long insecurity in eastern Congo.