SAMIDRC Force Commander calls on deployed troops

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The South African two-star general commanding the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) uses operational visits to ensure operational effectiveness and efficiency across his three-nation command.

This is according to the most recent statement issued this week by the regional bloc, which makes no mention of intended response to a rebel attack on an eastern DRC internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp, made public by way of another SADC statement on X (formerly Twitter) earlier this month (May).

The latest missive has it, in part, SAMIDRC (SADC Mission in DRC) Force Commander, Major General Monwabisi Dyakopu uses the visits to interact and provide directives “at every level of the chain of command”.

“The Force Commander,” the statement reads, “has conducted many of these visits to review operational preparedness. Operational visits provide good feedback on how the force is executing its mandate in the protection of civilians and how to improve on it. At best, ensure good discipline and field feedback on operations, administration and logistics”.

Operational visits to points of deployment Dyakopu to meet troops and commanders. Mission leadership uses the visits to “enhance co-ordination” between SAMIDRC units and FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo) as well as issue directives on how and where to improve.

The SAMIDRC deployment was approved by an Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Namibia more than a year ago on 8 May 2023 as a regional response to address the unstable and deteriorating security situation in the eastern DRC.

Deployment started on December with six fatalities reported to date – five as a result of injuries caused by mortar bombings and the sixth from “health challenges”.

Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania are the only three of 16 SADC member states providing troops and equipment for what is expected to be a five thousand strong force. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, also SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief, committed 2 900 South African military personnel to SAMIDRC. The 12 month deployment is said to be costing over R2 billion.