SADC Chiefs of Staff Assess Situation in DR Congo as M23 Conflict Rages On

Mar 4, 2024 | News, Politics | 0 comments

High-ranking military officials from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) visited the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Saturday, amidst continued clashes between government forces and M23 rebels. This high-level meeting, held in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, aimed to evaluate the progress of ongoing operations and refine strategies for strengthening the response.

Congolese army spokesperson General Sylvain Ekenge emphasised the visit from the SADC chiefs of staff as a powerful symbol of “commitment and determination” by SADC and Burundi in supporting the DRC. This gathering came just two days after M23 rebels targeted SADC armoured vehicles with an attack in Saké, resulting in casualties.

While some residents in Goma welcomed the presence of SADC officials, others expressed concerns about the effectiveness of external intervention. A concerned resident, called for prioritising internal solutions formulated by the Congolese army (FARDC) over foreign involvement.

The M23 rebels, allegedly linked to Rwanda, launched an offensive in 2021 and have since captured significant territory in North Kivu, displacing countless civilians. Aid organisations warn of a looming humanitarian crisis in the region, as the rebel advance threatens to isolate Goma and leave millions vulnerable.

This visit by SADC officials underscores the complex and evolving situation in the eastern DRC. With ongoing conflict, concerns about the effectiveness of external intervention, and the potential for a humanitarian crisis, the region’s path towards peace and stability remains uncertain.