The Burundian army deployed their second contingent to Goma on March 15th and 16th, 2023, to strengthen the forces of East Africa in their fight against armed groups in the region. These additional troops are joining the first contingent of 30 Burundian soldiers who have been operating there since March 5th, 2023.
According to Emmanuel Kaputa Kasenga, the Congolese general and deputy commander of the East African force, the Burundian force being deployed in North Kivu will consist of around 100 soldiers. Gen. Kasenga also stated that these soldiers will be deployed in the localities of Sake, Kilolirwe, and Kitchanga in North Kivu, as approved by the mini-summit of the heads of state in Addis-Abeba on February 17, 2023.
The Burundian soldiers are joining a Kenyan army contingent of around 1,000 men who have been deployed since November 2022. In addition, South Sudanese and Ugandan troops are present in the region to complete the military apparatus.
Although this regional force was created with an offensive mandate, some reports indicate that the forces are showing restraint in launching attacks against armed groups such as M23, which is accused of receiving support from Rwanda. The government of Rwanda denies these allegations and accuses the Congolese army of colluding with Hutu rebels (FDLR), who are accused of participating in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The M23 rebellion currently controls localities in the territories of Nyiragongo, Rutshuru, and Masisi in the province of North Kivu.
On March 7th of the same year, the M23 rebellion concluded a new agreement with the Angolan president, who was designated as the mediator by the African Union, for a cessation of hostilities.