DR Congo: MONUSCO and SADC’s Joint Efforts Against M23

Kinshasa, February 7, 2024- The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) is set to offer the Security Council a range of options to effectively back the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force’s endeavors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This strategic move, announced on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, comes amidst escalating tensions in the Eastern DRC, primarily driven by the M23 group’s intensified offensive operations.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, the Deputy Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, has issued a stern plea to the M23, urging an immediate cessation of its offensive in the East of the DRC and adherence to the Luanda Roadmap, a framework aimed at restoring peace in the region. This call to action underscores the international community’s commitment to stabilizing the DRC and ensuring the well-being of its citizens.

Under Security Council Resolution 2717, MONUSCO has been tasked with identifying ways to provide limited logistical and operational support to the SADC’s military arm, the SAMIDRC (SADC Mission in the DRC). This exploration of support mechanisms is pivotal for reinforcing the DRC’s efforts to combat armed groups that have long plagued the Eastern provinces.

During a field visit from February 2 to 5, 2024, to Goma, Beni, and Bukavu, Lacroix engaged with provincial authorities, civil society representatives, MONUSCO’s civilian and military personnel, and the leadership of the SAMIDRC. These discussions delved into security challenges, the planned gradual withdrawal of MONUSCO, and the imperative of preventing sexual exploitation and abuse. A significant focus was placed on enhancing joint coordination with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) to counteract rebel factions effectively.

Elias Magosi, the Executive Secretary of the SADC, alongside the military governor of North Kivu, Major General Peter Chirimwami, has signaled the imminent launch of a joint offensive with the FARDC against the M23 rebels. This collaboration marks a critical phase in the SAMIDRC’s deployment, which began on December 15, 2023, aiming to bolster the DRC government’s efforts to secure peace and stability in the conflict-ridden Eastern region.

The establishment of the SAMIDRC mission reflects a concerted effort by the SADC to implement summit decisions and operationalize its presence in the DRC. This initiative is seen as a pivotal step towards restoring peace in the East of the DRC, emphasizing the importance of collaborative efforts between the SADC mission and the DRC government.