Kenyan soldiers landed in the city of Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, as part of a regional military operation targeting rebels in the conflict-torn region. Their arrival comes as the M23 militia has surged across the DRC’s North Kivu province, capturing swathes of territory and inflaming tensions in central Africa. Leaders of the seven-nation East African Community (EAC) bloc, in which Kenya is the regional heavyweight, agreed in April to establish a joint force to help restore security in the mineral-rich DRC. This week, Kenya’s parliament approved the deployment of just over 900 troops to the DRC as part of the joint EAC military force. Two planes carrying about 100 Kenyan troops touched down in Goma airport on Saturday, according to AFP reporters present, where they were greeted by local dignitaries. Kenyan Lieutenant-Colonel Dennis Obiero told reporters that their mission is “to conduct offensive operations” alongside Congolese forces, and to assist in disarming militias. “Insecurity is something which breaks up the social fabric,” he added, explaining that the Kenyan contingent would also work alongside humanitarian agencies in a bid to bring stability to the eastern DRC.