There was agony and sorrow as the family of a Kenya Defence Forces soldier who was killed in a mortar attack on East African Community Regional Forces (EACRF) in Kibumba, eastern DRC was Wednesday received the body in Nairobi.
The family members said they did not expect their son, a private to return in a casket.
The body was moved to a military mortuary in Nairobi on Wednesday ahead of planned burial.
At the same time, EACRF protested on Wednesday that a ceasefire agreement between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 armed group was breached on October 24 when the attack happened.
“The hostile clashes fatally wounded a Kenyan Peacekeeper stationed at Kanyamahoro, near Kibumba, 15 kilometers North East of Goma.
Consequently, investigations to establish circumstances under which this incident occurred have commenced,” a statement from EACRF said.
It called for the return to ceasefire agreement and cessation of hostilities between the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and the M23 Armed Group.
“EACRF remains committed to the Protection of Civilians in line with its mandate.”
It is the first such death to be reported on the Kenyan troops since they joined the EACRF last year.
There are more than 1,000 KDF personnel in the mission.
The soldier was among troops under the EACRF when a mortar directed on a fighting group landed on them on Tuesday October 24.
Officials on the ground said there was no direct attack on KDF Forward Operating Base adding the M23 was fighting with Wazalendo rebels using mortars when the incident happened.
A fighting between the M23 rebels and the Militia Coalition under the Wazalendo (Patriots) umbrella has resumed in North Kivu province.
This is after the M23 rebels accused Wazalendo and the government army of launching the attacks at M23 positions in Bwiza, Masisi territory.
This comes as M23 rebels and DR Congo troops clash heavily in North Kivu province.
Thousands of people have been displaced in the volatile eastern region of the DRC as fighting between the army and M23 rebels continues.
A mostly Congolese Tutsi group, the M23 (the March 23 Movement) leapt to prominence in 2012 when it briefly captured Goma before being driven out.
After lying dormant for years, the rebels took up arms again in late 2021, claiming the DRC had failed to honour a pledge to integrate them into the army, among other grievances.
On October 8, Defence from the East Africa in Community (EAC) approved the extension of the region’s forces to stay in DRC until peace and stability are restored.
EACRF was first deployed in November last year and had its mandate extended in March for six months.
EACRF is supposed to be a buffer force to prevent confrontations between armed groups and encourage political dialogue.