Southern African nations to send forces to eastern DR Congo

Southern African nations to send forces to eastern DR Congo

Decision comes after East African Community member countries sent troops to region to keep peace

By Godfrey Olukya

KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) decided Monday to send forces to restore peace and security in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

The decision came out of a special summit of the member countries of the subregional organization in Windhoek, Namibia, according to UN radio in DR Congo.

It said the SADC force will be added to the East African Community (EAC) forces already there that have taken over areas previously occupied by the M23 rebel group but up to now have failed to put an end to the insurgency going on in North Kivu province.

Namibian President Hage Geingob called on the SADC to work with the EAC and other regional forces to support the Congolese government.

SADC Executive Secretary Elias Magosi said the security situation in eastern DRC is worrying, with the deterioration of the humanitarian situation due to the resurgence of the M23 and other armed groups.

The SADC is made up of 16 countries including South Africa, Angola, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and Madagascar.

The M23 conquered swaths of territory in eastern DRC last June, including the key town of Bunagana at the border with Uganda, before occupying many more villages.

Peace talks involving the rebels and EAC member states resulted in ordering the rebels to leave the areas they had occupied. The states also agreed to send peacekeepers to the embattled area. They did so, but up till now, there are areas still occupied by M23 rebels.

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