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South African soldier killed, 13 injured in clash with eastern Congo rebels

South African soldier killed, 13 injured in clash with eastern Congo rebels

ONE South African soldier was killed and 13 others were injured in a battle with Rwandan-backed M23 rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the South African National Defence Force said. The soldiers, deployed to Congo as part of its contribution to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force sent to tackle armed groups there, came in contact with the rebels in the eastern town of Sake on Thursday, the defence force statement said. "In a battle that ensued between M23 and our forces, 13 members were injured and one was fatally wounded," it said, adding that two armoured personnel carriers were…
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Belgium encourages DRC to file complaint against Rwanda at the ICJ

Belgium encourages DRC to file complaint against Rwanda at the ICJ

THE Democratic Republic of Congo should file a complaint with the International Court of Justice over Rwanda's failure to respect its border, Belgium's ambassador to Congo said at a meeting to assess the deepening crisis in eastern Congo. Congo has been struggling to push back M23 rebels since they launched a comeback offensive in the already restive east in 2022. The fighting has displaced 738,000 more people in the first three months of this year alone, according to the U.N. aid agency OCHA. The Congolese government, U.N. officials and Western powers including the United States and Belgium have accused Rwanda of providing…
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For Congolese displaced by the M23 war, host families offer a ‘heart of solidarity’

For Congolese displaced by the M23 war, host families offer a ‘heart of solidarity’

KANYABAYONGA, Democratic Republic of the Congo WHEN thousands of displaced Congolese arrived in the eastern town of Kanyabayonga fleeing M23 rebels last month, local resident Jeanine Bitasimwa acted as she always does in these circumstances: She welcomed destitute families into her humble home. “We agree to welcome the displaced because we do not know if we too will be displaced one day in this country, which only seems to experience war,” Bitasimwa told The New Humanitarian on a visit to Kanyabayonga late last month.  Some 1.5 million people are currently uprooted following two years of ruinous conflict between the Rwanda-backed…
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US condemns worsening violence in east of DR Congo, accuses Rwanda

US condemns worsening violence in east of DR Congo, accuses Rwanda

THE United States condemned worsening violence in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), blaming it on M23, an armed group it said is backed by Rwanda. A statement from the U.S. State Department called on M23 to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw from its current positions around Sake and Goma. "The United States condemns Rwanda's support for the M23 armed group," the statement said. It called on Rwanda to immediately withdraw all of its military personnel from the DRC and remove surface-to-air missile systems, saying these threatened the lives of civilians, U.N. and other regional peacekeepers, humanitarian workers and…
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South Africa to deploy 2,900 troops to fight armed groups in eastern Congo

South Africa to deploy 2,900 troops to fight armed groups in eastern Congo

SOUTH Africa will send 2,900 troops as part of its contribution to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force deployed to tackle armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the president's office said in a statement on Monday. The one-year deployment will cover the period between December 15. 2023 and December 15, 2024, and will cost around 2 billion rand ($105.75 million), the statement said. The 16-member state SADC approved the eastern Congo mission in May last year to help Congo, the world's top supplier of cobalt and Africa's top copper producer, address instability and deteriorating security in its restive eastern…
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Congolese city Goma under threat as thousands flee rebel advance

Congolese city Goma under threat as thousands flee rebel advance

A rocket landed near a university in the Congolese city of Goma as thousands of civilians fled a fresh advance by M23 rebels that threatens to isolate the city of around two million people. There were no casualties from the strike, which blasted a crater into open ground in the Lac Vert neighbourhood, but it underscored the potential threat to Goma, a strategic urban hub in the Democratic Republic of Congo's conflict-ridden east. "This shows that M23 is targeting Goma now. The government has to do something to stop M23's progress," 25-year student Sophonie Bayonga said at the scene. The…
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Around 20 civilians killed in Congo attack, army and rebels trade blame

Around 20 civilians killed in Congo attack, army and rebels trade blame

AROUND 20 civilians were killed in an attack in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the army and M23 rebels said, accusing each other of launching the assault. The deaths were the latest fallout from fighting between Congolese troops and M23, whose offensives have forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and worsened the region's decades-long security and humanitarian crisis. Thursday's attack took place in the town of Mweso in Masisi territory, around 80 km (50 miles) from the city of Goma in North Kivu province, the two sides said. They gave different accounts of what happened. The…
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South Africa to lead new military force in the DRC: an expert on what it’s up against

South Africa to lead new military force in the DRC: an expert on what it’s up against

THE United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Monusco, is ending after 20 years. It will be replaced by troops from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), led by the South African military. Thomas Mandrup, an expert in African security governance and South African military and foreign policy, recently wrote a paper on the subject. We asked him about the new mission and what awaits it. THOMAS MANDRUP, Associate Professor, Security Institute for Governance and Leadership In Africa (SIGLA), Stellenbosch University What prompted the deployment? The security situation in the eastern DRC has deteriorated in recent…
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Over 1,000 Burundian soldiers covertly deploy in eastern Congo, internal UN report says

Over 1,000 Burundian soldiers covertly deploy in eastern Congo, internal UN report says

OVER 1,000 Burundian troops have been covertly deployed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since October, wearing the uniform of Congolese troops and working alongside them in the fight against M23 rebels, an unpublished U.N. report seen by Reuters showed. Citing security and intelligence sources and sources close to Congolese army command, the report by the U.N. Group of Experts in Congo said the troops were airlifted from Burundi to eastern Congo by Congolese army planes starting from Sept. 21. The Burundian and Congolese governments and the Congolese army did not immediately reply to a request for comment from Reuters.…
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Southern African troops versus M23 rebels in the DRC: 4 risks this poses

Southern African troops versus M23 rebels in the DRC: 4 risks this poses

The security situation in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to deteriorate. The region comprises North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri provinces. It’s about seven times the size of neighbouring Rwanda. DELPHIN R. NTANYOMA, Visiting Researcher, University of Leeds The violence in North Kivu has drawn most of the attention of the DRC’s neighbours and the international community. This close attention is aimed at preventing possible confrontation between Rwanda and the DRC. Since late 2021, North Kivu has been confronted by M23 rebels who have executed people and forcibly displaced thousands within the province and…
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