Gen Nyagah was appointed General Officer of West Command, in Kenya.

Gen Nyagah was appointed General Officer of West Command, in Kenya.

Maj Gen Jeff Nyagah, the commander of the East African Community regional force (EACRF) deployed in eastern DR Congo, has resigned, citing “an aggravated threat” to his personal safety.

In an April 27 letter to EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, the Kenyan military officer noted that there was “a systematic plan to frustrate efforts of the EACRF.”

Nyagah has headed the EACRF since its deployment in November 2022.

In the letter, Nyagah says, “there was an attempt to intimidate my security at my former residence by deploying foreign military contractors (mercenaries) who placed monitoring devices, flew drones and conducted physical surveillance of my residence in early January 2023 forcing me to relocate.”

Since December 2022, the regional force had occupied regions of eastern DR Congo’s North Kivu province which were vacated by the M23 rebels, in compliance with the Luanda agreement signed in the Angolan capital.

The regional force has troops from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.

He said there have been “well-orchestrated and financed negative media campaigns targeted at my personality and direct written false accusations of EACRF’s complacency on the handling of the M23 group.”

“This is further enhanced by the current push by the government of DRC to have the FC [Force Commander] rotated every three (3) months which was not envisioned in the current mandate.”

Additionally, he said, the recent suspension of the EACRF Facebook Account was an “indication of possible sabotage of the Regional Force efforts.”

“This is equally compounded by the government of [DR Congo’s] failure to pay administrative cost including Force Headquarters Offices, Staff Officers accommodation, electricity as well as salaries for civilian staff as per the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA).”

“It is with this in mind and further assessment that I have come to the conclusion that my security as the Force Commander is not guaranteed within the operation area,” Nyagah wrote.

He thus noted that the ongoing frustration has “rendered my mission untenable” hence the precautionary decision to exit the mission area.

Despite its gains in securing the M23 withdrawal, the regional force has faced mounting pressure from Congolese elites and civil society, who want it to fight the M23 rebels.

In February, at an extraordinary summit of the EAC Heads of State held in Bujumbura, Burundi, DR Congo’s President Félix Tshisekedi was captured on video confronting Gen Nyagah, in the presence of Kenyan President William Ruto.

A visibly infuriated Tshisekedi told Gen Nyagah to fight the M23 rebels or risk the wrath of the Congolese population.

In Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, where the EAC force is headquartered, protests against the regional military mission which was established to try to find a lasting solution to the crisis have been staged several times.

The EAC has indicated that it is committed to the restoration of peace and security in eastern DR Congo. But Kinshasa seems determined to frustrate all efforts toward peace.

In January, Kinshasa unilaterally expelled Rwandan officers who worked in the regional force headquarters, a move the EAC said was concerned about in part due to the fact that the officers enjoyed immunity.

Meanwhile, Ruto has appointed another officer – Maj Gen Alphaxard Muthuri Kiugu as the commander of the EAC regional force, the Kenyan army announced on Friday.

Subsequently, Gen Nyagah was appointed General Officer of West Command, in Kenya.