Kenya spends $37 million sending troops to Congo

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NAIROBI, Kenya (TBEN) – Kenya’s parliament has approved the deployment of nearly 1,000 troops to a new regional force in eastern Congo, amid questions about the $37 million cost for the mission’s first six months.

A report from the parliamentary commission says the money will be spent on equipment, grants and operations for the more than 900 troops that will join the East African Community regional force that will support Congolese troops against armed groups.

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Opposition lawmakers questioned why Kenya is spending so much money on the regional mission while facing its own security problems. Kenya is also facing rising inflation and high public debt.

Kenyan President William Ruto last week called the mission “necessary and urgent” for regional security. Violence by armed groups in eastern Congo has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Congo and neighboring Rwanda, who accuse each other of supporting certain groups.

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Kenyan troops will be stationed in Goma, the largest city in eastern Congo. The regional force, agreed by heads of state in June and led by a Kenyan commander, also has two battalions from Uganda, two from Burundi and one from South Sudan.

There is a possibility that international funding for the mission could be secured, the committee report said.