South Sudan to send 750 troops for regional force in Congo

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JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s military says more than 700 personnel will travel to eastern Congo to join a new regional force in trying to calm the latest deadly insecurity there.

The spokesman for South Sudan’s military, Maj. Gen. Lul Ruai Koang, told The Associated Press on Monday the government is working to provide the 750 troops with needed equipment for the combat mission, but he said sanctions on the country are complicating that effort.

The United Nations earlier this year renewed an arms embargo on South Sudan, citing continuing deadly violence as the country slowly implements a 2018 peace deal that ended a five-year civil war. Thousands of people are still being killed, according to local authorities and the United Nations.

The South Sudanese military spokesman did not say how soon the troops will be sent to eastern Congo. “The forces are still under training, and they are still at the preparatory level,” he said.

Earlier this year, leaders of the seven-nation East African Community resolved to create and deploy a regional force to eastern Congo, where dozens of armed groups are active. Tensions have been rising between the governments of Congo and neighboring Rwanda as each accuses the other of backing certain armed groups.

Kenya has a leading role in the regional force and in Congo peace efforts, and South Sudan’s military spokesman spoke to the AP after Kenyan President William Ruto visited South Sudan over the weekend.

South Sudan President Salva Kiir last week said his country will contribute to regional security despite having its own challenges at home.

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