T he East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) has launched probe into attack from a Congolese army position that killed a Kenyan peacekeeper.
The deceased who has since been airlifted back to Kenya was stationed at Kanyamahoro, near Kibumba, 15Km North East of Goma.
EACRF said in a statement that the incident happened following “hostile clashes” between the Congolese Army and the M23 rebels when the parties breached a ceasefire agreement.
“Consequently, investigations to establish circumstances under which this incident occurred have commenced,” EACRF said Wednesday.
The Regional Force called on the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 to adhere to the ceasefire that was in place.
EACRF reiterated its commitment to the Protection of Civilians in line with its mandate.
The statement came even as different versions of what transpired during the Tuesday event continued to emerge.
A highly placed source within EACRF refuted claims that Rwanda planned the mortar attack that killed the Kenyan soldier.
Mortar from DRC-held position
He termed claims by the Congolese military as ‘fictitious’ and insisted that the mortar fire which targeted positions held by the Regional Force originated from the positions of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).
“The East Africa Regional force insists that the motor was fired by the FARDC of the DRC,” the senior official with access to EACRF told Capital News on Wednesday.
“The fact of the matter is that reporting of the DRC is fictitious,” he said.
The response came hours after DRC blamed Rwanda for the death that becomes the first loss of an EACRF soldier since its deployment to the Central African nation in November last year.
Lieutenant-Colonel Kaiko Ndjike, the Spokesperson for the Congolese army in North Kivu province said Tuesday that rebels targeted the EAC-RF forward positions after facing resistance from the FARDC in the morning of Tuesday, where they attacked one of the Congolese army positions.
The Congolese army condemned the attack labeling it as “barbaric” and accused the Rwanda Defence Forces of trying to sabotage the ongoing peace campaign in the Central African state.
“In view of the above, the FARDC denounces and condemns this barbaric and terrorist manner on the part of the Rwandan army operating under cover of the M23, which is now attacking the regional force that came to impose peace and stability on the Eastern DRC, on instructions from the Heads of State of the EAC,” he added.
The Congolese army condoled with the EAC Regional Force following the loss and reiterated its commitment to respect the agreements of the Heads of State resulting from the Luanda and Nairobi agreements.
It is not the first time Rwanda is being accused of scuttling peace efforts in DRC by aiding the M23 rebels.
In June, a report released by the United Nations Group of Experts suggested Rwanda was supporting the M23 rebels.
The report claimed that Rwanda was supporting the M23 through troop reinforcement, equipment and command.
On October 10, Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta, facilitator of an EAC-backed Nairobi-led peace process, condemned renewed hostilities in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Kenya’s troops are part of the Regional Force tasked with the stabilizing the President Felix Tshisekedi-led country.
Kenyatta called on the warring parties to commit to non-military solution in resolving the conflict.
“His Excellency President (Retired) Uhuru Kenyatta, in his capacity as the Facilitator of the EAC-Led Nairobi Process on the Restoration of Peace and Stability in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), condemns the reported escalation of hostilities, killings and displacements in eastern DRC,” his office said in a statement.
He appealed on both sides to end the armed hostilities so as to allow continued unhindered and sustained humanitarian access in the area.