Kenya’s parliament has approved the deployment of nearly 1,000 troops to a new regional force in eastern Congo, despite questions about the $37 million cost for the mission’s first six months.
The money will be spent on equipment, subsidies and operations for the more than 900 soldiers who will join the East African Community regional force, which will support Congolese forces against armed groups, according to a parliamentary commission report.
Opposition lawmakers have questioned why Kenya is spending so much money on the regional mission while the country faces its own security problems. Kenya also faces rising inflation and public debt.
Last week, Kenyan President William Ruto described the mission as “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.
The Kenyan military will be stationed in Goma, the largest city in eastern Congo. The regional force, approved by heads of state in June and led by a Kenyan commander, also includes two battalions from Uganda, two from Burundi and one from South Sudan.
The commission’s report says that there is a possibility of obtaining international funding for the mission.