The new East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) Commander Major General Aphaxard Muthuri Kiugu assumed office in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Major General Kiugu was received at the Force Headquarters by the Deputy Force Commander (DFC), in charge of Intelligence and Operations – Brig Gen Emmanuel Kaputa, DFC Administration and Logistics – Brig Gen Ndorarigonya Gregoire, Chief of Staff – Brig Gen Michael Kibuye, Contingent Commanders and other Force Headquarters Staff Officers.
In his address to the EACRF officers present, the Force Commander noted that the Regional Force has achieved significant milestones since the deployment in November 2022, including ensuring withdrawal of M23 from previously occupied spaces and other tasks.
He noted among these is the Protection of Civilians and humanitarian support in the contingents areas of operation.
He instructed the contingents to operate guided by the Status of Force Agreement and Rules of Engagement and advised them to keep reviewing tactics in conformity with the mission-changing dynamics so as to remain effective in the ongoing peace and stability efforts.
He also encouraged the contingent commanders to share their experiences for the benefit and success of the Regional Force.
“I am coming to pick from where Maj Gen Jeff Nyagah left and according to my assessment, you have done well. However, there are certainly lessons that we can learn from past experience, that can enable us to improve towards achievement of the desired end, I believe in cooperation and teamwork and I want to remind each one of us that we are one people of EAC with a common objective of enabling the citizens of Eastern DRC that are affected by insecurity to realize peace”, he added.
He thanked the EAC Heads of State for finding it wise to establish a force intended to augment the current peace efforts in place, and the Government of DRC for the necessary facilitation.
The new force commander implored all to maintain the aim, remain focused, and continue with the efforts of ensuring M23 fully withdraws from the areas they occupied earlier to the designated localities per the Luanda Roadmap.
“We shall continue cooperating and collaboration with all stakeholders operating in the region including the various civil society entities so that we can leverage on each others’ efforts and ideas” added the Force Commander.
The New Force Commander brings to the Mission wealth of experience in military leadership, command and management in peace support operations having been previously deployed as a Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration and Repatriation Officer while serving with the UN Mission in Eastern DRC from 2003 to 2004.
He has also served as Defence Liason Officer in Kenya’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York.
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