By John Ikani
Troops affiliated with the East African Community (EAC), deployed a year ago to combat M23 rebels in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have commenced their return journey home.
The development comes months after the Congolese government declared them ineffective and decided not to prolong their mandate which expires on Friday.
While the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is anticipated to replace the East African force, no specific date has been established for their deployment.
In a parallel development, the M23 rebel group successfully took control of Mushaki, a town situated 40km (25 miles) from Goma, the capital of the resource-rich Nord Kivu province.
The rebels seized Mushaki on December 7 following clashes with the Congolese army. Mushaki, a pivotal transport hub in the region, has exchanged hands between the M23 and the army multiple times.
Notably, the Democratic Republic of Congo is slated to conduct a general election on December 20.”