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Uganda will send around 1,000 troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to aid Congolese troops against an ongoing rebel offensive in the country’s east, Agence France-Presse reported.

The soldiers are part of a joint regional force deployed by the East African Community (EAC) to quell violence in the eastern regions.

Troops from Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, and South Sudan are expected to join the EAC regional force. However, its intended total size is unknown.

In recent months, the DRC’s North Kivu province has become a battlefield between government troops and rebels of the M23 group, a largely Congolese Tutsi militia.

The M23 rose to prominence in 2012, when it took the regional capital of Goma before being forced out and going to ground. It resurfaced late last year, saying, among other things, that the DRC had failed to implement its vow to incorporate the group’s fighters into the army.

The fighting has reignited regional tensions, with the DRC accusing neighboring Rwanda of backing the M23 rebels.

The Rwandan government has denied supporting the rebel group, countering that the DRC’s government is colluding with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda – a former Rwandan Hutu rebel group established in Congo after the 1994 genocide of mainly Tutsis in Rwanda.

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