SAMIDRC to launch ops in the wake of IDP camp attack

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Last week’s attack on an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will not go unanswered by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission in the central African country.

A statement this week “strongly condemns the horrific attacks by M23 rebels” adding SAMIDRC (SADC Mission in the DRC) will, in co-operation with FARDC (Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo), “conduct operations to neutralise M23 rebels and maintain peace and security in creating a secure environment as well as protect civilians and their properties under imminent threats or attacks”.

M23 attacks, according to the statement, triggered “massive population displacement”, blocked supply routes to Goma and worsened the prevailing humanitarian situation.

SAMIDRC operations intend to open supply routes, and ensure civilians are free from intimidation, displacement and killings “so communities can run their daily lives without interference or threats”.

The regional bloc reaction comes in the wake of condemnation of the M23 attacks by the United Nations (UN) and United States (US) and follows a MONUSCO statement which said “bombing” of IDP sites in Lac-Vert and Mugunga cost the lives of several civilians, including at least six children and injured many others.

MONUSCO Head, Bintou Keita, also Special Representative of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in DRC, denounced the “escalation of indiscriminate violence against civilians in North Kivu”. Congolese authorities were urged to take all necessary measures to bring the perpetrators to justice for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

Her sentiments were echoed by US government spokesman Matthew Miller who, in a statement, noted his country’s “grave concern” about recent RDF (Rwanda Defence Force) and M23 expansion in the eastern DRC, where a Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission is deploying and mobilising.

The statement has him saying the additional arrival of M23 fighters and Rwandan soldiers contributed to the displacement of more than 2.5 million people.