Early days for SADC DR Congo mission – no boots on the ground yet

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The Southern African Development Community (SADC) commitment to stop rebel attacks in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is still at the reconnaissance and planning stage.

Assigned the acronym SAMIDRC (SADC Mission in DRC), the deployment to date saw its force commander, South African Major General Monwabisi Dyakopu, accompanied by an unknown number of staff officers at a reconnaissance and planning conference in Goma between 17 and 24 November. This is as per a SADC statement, distributed in South Africa by the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

“The same grouping,” the statement continues, “deployed on 15 December”.

SAMIDRC was approved over nine months ago at a SADC special summit in Windhoek, Namibia, to deal with “issues of insecurity and restore peace”.

“The deployment of SADC troops,” according to the undated statement, “had been agreed upon in accordance with the principle of collective security advocated in the mutual defence pact of this common organisation, which stipulated in its Article 6 paragraph 1 that: ‘Any armed attack perpetrated against one of the States Parties shall be considered as a threat to regional peace and security. In response to such an attack, immediate collective action shall be taken’”.

“It is in this context that a SADC regional force from Republic of Malawi, Republic of South Africa and United Republic of Tanzania and elements of the DRC Armed Forces are deployed in support of the Congolese Army, Forces Armees de la Republic Democratique du Congo (FARDC) in fighting to eradicate the negative forces/illegal armed groups that continue to disrupt peace and security in the DRC”.

The first advance group from Malawi and South Africa arrived in the central African country on 18 December with a second South African group arriving two days later.