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SADC Troops Deploy to DRC

FILE: In a previous deployment, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc rellied behind neighboring Mozambique, sending troops to battle jihadists wreaking havoc in the gas-rich north and posing a threat to other countries. Taken Aug. 5, 2021

WINDHOEK - Southern African countries on Monday agreed to deploy forces to help quell violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where armed groups have terrorized civilians for decades.

A summit of the 16-bloc Southern African Development Community [SADC], which includes South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania, backed the deployment "to restore peace and security in eastern DRC," SADC said in a statement from the Namibian capital Windhoek.

The decision was reached at talks attended by several heads of states, including DRC's President Felix Tshisekedi, his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa and ministers from the 16 members regional group.

The meeting did not give the numbers to be deployed nor a timeline for the deployment.

It will also add to an East African regional military force that has taken over some areas previously occupied by the M23 militia since December but has so far failed to thwart the insurgency.

The Tutsi-led rebels are still present in North Kivu and still occasionally clash with rival militias.

The M23, has captured swathes of territory in North Kivu since taking up arms again in late 2021 after years of dormancy.

The rebel campaign has displaced over one million people, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The East African Community (EAC) force draws on troops from Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

Armed groups have plagued much of mineral-rich eastern DRC for three decades, a legacy of regional wars that flared in the 1990s and 2000s.