SADC re-affirms commitment to peace in DRC

417

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will continue contributing to restoring peace and stability to conflict-strewn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) following hundreds of deaths and thousands displaced in recent attacks.

The commitment was re-affirmed by Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Namibian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Co-operation in a regional bloc ministerial meeting of the Organ Troika plus Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) troop contributing countries (TCCs) to DRC held virtually last week.

The FIB, the only United Nations (UN) force to currently hold an offensive mandate, is an entirely SADC force comprising battalions from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania boosted by quick reaction forces, including one from South Africa. Its operations are largely confined to eastern DRC and aim at keeping the civilian population safe from marauding bands of rebels, the majority based in Uganda.

During the virtual meeting Nandi-Ndaitwah called on the regional bloc to re-double its efforts to ensure stability in DRC.

According to a SADC statement she said security challenges in the eastern DRC threaten the common aspirations for regional integration and close the economic space for development and incentives for industries to grow and create sustainable jobs, in particular for women and youth.

She commended the FIB “which, in the spirit of collective security, has been steadfast in neutralising negative forces in the eastern part of the DRC since 2013”.

One agenda item for the virtual meeting was the eastern DRC security situation “with a view to have a common position on how to sustainably address it”.

The Troika meeting followed an engagement by SADC executive secretary Elias Magosi with Bintou Keita, special representative of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in DRC. They discussed ongoing security challenges in eastern DRC and the FIB’s role of the FIB in MONUSCO.