The commander of the East Africa Regional Force (EACRF), Major General Jeff Nyagah, has left the mission area in the Democratic Republic of Congo for consultations in Nairobi, citing security concerns.
The battle-hardened officer is returning to Nairobi for "further consultations" on ongoing processes and the force's now-expired mandate.
In a memo to the EAC Secretary General dated April 27, 2023, the officer explained that he had decided to leave Goma due to an increased threat to his safety and a systematic plan to frustrate the efforts of the EACRF.
“Honorable secretary as you are aware, 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,” the memo reads in part.
Negative media campaign
He also cites a "well-coordinated and financed negative media campaign" targeting his personality and the EACRF's alleged complacency in dealing with the M23 armed group.
“This is further enhanced by the current push by DRC to have the force commander rotated every three months which was not envisaged in the current mandate,” the memo adds.
Maj-Gen Nyagah also sees the suspension of the EACRF's Facebook account and Kinshasa's failure to cover the force's headquarters' administrative costs, including electricity and salaries for civilian staff and accommodation for officers, as sabotage of its efforts.
"I have come to the conclusion that my security as the force commander is not guaranteed within the operation area. Further, the ongoing frustration has rendered my mission untenable hence the precautionary decision to exit the mission area,” he adds.