Kenya’s parliament has approved the deployment of nearly 1,000 soldiers to a new regional force in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), amid questions about the $37 million cost for the mission’s first six months.
Local newspapers reported that the approval, given on Wednesday, came two days after Defense Minister Aden Duale met the parliamentary defense committee.
The commission’s report says the money will be spent on equipment, grants and operations for the more than 900 soldiers who will join the East African Community’s regional force that will support Congolese troops against armed groups.
Opposition lawmakers questioned why Kenya is spending so much money on the regional mission while facing its own security problems.
Kenya also faces rising inflation and high government debt that President William Ruto inherited from his successor Uhuru Kenyatta.
Last week, Ruto called the mission “necessary and urgent” for regional security. Violence by armed groups in the eastern part has sparked a diplomatic crisis between the DRC and neighboring Rwanda, who accuse each other of supporting certain groups.
Kenyan troops will be stationed in Goma, the largest city in eastern DRC. The regional force, agreed by heads of state in June and led by a Kenyan commander, also has two battalions from Uganda, two from Burundi and one from South Sudan.
There is a possibility that international funding for the mission could be secured, the committee report said.