Kenyan soldiers have landed in the city of Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as part of a regional peacekeeping mission to the region.
Their arrival on Saturday comes as the M23 rebel group has surged across the DRC’s North Kivu province, capturing swaths of territory and inflaming regional tensions.
This week, Kenya’s Parliament approved the deployment of about 900 soldiers to the DRC as part of a joint military force from the East African Community (EAC) bloc.
More than 120 armed groups are active in the DRC’s volatile east, many of which are a legacy of regional wars which flared at the turn of the century.
The M23, a mostly Congolese Tutsi group, first came to prominence in 2012, briefly capturing Goma before being driven out.
After lying dormant for years, the group took up arms again in late 2021, claiming Kinshasa had failed to honour a pledge to integrate them into the army, among other grievances.
M23 rebels have won a string of victories against the Congolese army in North Kivu in recent weeks, dramatically increasing the territory under their control.
Their resurgence has cratered relations between the DRC and its smaller neighbour Rwanda, which Kinshasa accuses of backing the M23. Kigali denies the accusation.