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SADC approves deployment of regional force to maintain security in eastern DRC

SADC approves deployment of regional force to maintain security in eastern DRC

By Clifton Movirongo.

Heads of State from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met on Monday 08 May for the Extraordinary Organ Troika summit in Windhoek, where they decided to approve the deployment of a SADC military force to maintain peace and security in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The summit was convened and chaired by the President, HE Dr Hage Geingob in his capacity as the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation. The meeting, preceded by a ministerial meeting on 7 May, was attended by heads of state and government and/or their representatives from Namibia, DRC, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Angola.

The summit considered the current security situation in eastern DRC, following the SADC report on the DRC conflict in March this year, as well as to review SADC armed force operations in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado.

The heads of state said in a communiqué that “they noted with great concern the unstable and deteriorating” security situation prevailing in that part of the DRC and reiterated SADC’s support in the fight against armed groups to pave the way for sustainable peace, security, and prosperity to the people of the DRC and the SADC region.

The Force Intervention Brigade has been deployed in eastern DRC as part of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC to secure this part of the country and restore its overall territorial integrity,” Geingob said, adding that SADC will consider ways to strengthen its efforts in solidarity with the people of DRC.

SADC must focus on regaining the achievements we made through the FIB since March 2013, eradicating the illegal armed groups, securing and consolidating the territorial integrity and future of a DRC, whose socio-economic development is intertwined with our regional developmental goals,” he said.

The security situation in the DRC demands regional attention since the country is scheduled to hold general elections on 20 December 2023.

Meanwhile, the leaders received a progress report from their Defence Chiefs following the field assessment they undertook in March to the Eastern DRC. In addition, the summit noted that the humanitarian situation was getting worse in the DRC due to M23 rebels.

SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi said the armed groups have in the past year, intensified their acts of violence and increased their activities, leading to the displacement of the population, particularly in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri Provinces.

He added: “This calls for immediate collective action in support of the DRC to restore peace and security in the eastern part, particularly at this critical time when the DRC is preparing for national elections.”

Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Elias Magosi (left) and the Namibian President, HE Dr Hage Geingob at the start of the Extraordinary Organ Troika that met earlier this week in Windhoek to approve a military support force for the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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