The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has confirmed that four more of its soldiers, deployed to combat the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels in the North Kivu province of the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, have been killed on the front lines.  

In a statement released on Monday evening and signed by Barbra Lopi, Head of Communications and Public Relations at the SADC Secretariat, it was reported that three Tanzanians and one South African soldier were killed on April 1, 2024, in the hills around Sake town. Additionally, three soldiers from Tanzania were injured. 

The incident occurred when a hostile mortar bomb fell near the camp where they were stationed.   The statement, however, does not specify which party fired the bomb, nor does it reveal the identities of the deceased and the casualties. 

On Monday evening, General Fall Sikabwe, Commander of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) and Commander of Operations in the Kivu and South Kivu provinces paid tribute to the fallen soldiers before their bodies were repatriated to their respective countries for a dignified burial.  

In February 2024, a mortar bomb also killed two South African soldiers and injured others in the North Kivu province. SADC troops were deployed in the DR Congo in December 2023 following the withdrawal of troops from the East African Regional Force (EACRF). The DR Congo government declined to renew the EACRF troops’ mandate, accusing them of failing to launch an assault against M23 rebels. 

The deployment of SADC troops reignited deadly fighting, leading to the advancement and capture of more positions by M23 rebels. The ongoing conflict has intensified as M23 rebels target the strategic town of Sake, located approximately 20 kilometers from Goma city. In March 2022, M23, led by Bertrand Bisimwa and General Sultan Makenga, initiated a conflict against the government.

The DR Congo government accuses Rwanda of supporting M23, although both Rwanda and M23 vehemently deny these allegations. The rebels claim they are fighting against corruption, xenophobia, and discrimination within the leadership of the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *