Conflict Continues in the Democratic Republic of Congo: SADC Secretary Visits Troops in Goma

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional economic bloc, announced on Sunday that its Secretary, Elias Magosi, visited the SADC troops deployed in the ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Magosi, who hails from Botswana, made the visit to “express support and assess the situation” on the ground.

The SADC contingent, comprising forces from South Africa, Malawi, and Tanzania, has been sent to assist the Congolese army in their efforts to suppress the M23 rebel group.

Meanwhile, M23 spokesperson Lawrence Kanyuka reported that from Sunday and continuing into Monday morning, a combined force of state troops, their allies, and SADC forces “launched widespread attacks on civilians” in the areas of Mweso, Mpati, and Karuba in Masisi, and Kibumba in Rutshuru. Kanyuka highlighted the use of drone aircraft and long-range artillery in these attacks.

The conflict, which subsided overnight into Monday, resumed on Monday, causing many civilians, especially in the Karuba region, to flee their homes, according to reports confirmed by the BBC. The DRC’s military has not yet commented on Sunday’s clashes, but supporters have suggested that the M23 rebels initiated the attack on the government forces and their allies.

According to a recent United Nations report, the Congolese army has been collaborating with various militias, including the FDLR, multiple Mai-Mai groups united under the name Wazalendo, and Burundian forces. The M23 claims that the SADC forces have now joined this alliance. The UN experts also assert that the M23 is supported by the Rwandan military. Both Kigali and Gitega deny these allegations from the UN experts.

Analysts express concerns that the ongoing conflicts in Eastern DRC could escalate tensions and lead to more severe conflicts in the Great Lakes region. The situation remains complex, with multiple actors involved and the potential for further regional destabilization.