South Africa To Send Troops To DRC

The South African government is scheduled to dispatch troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of UN Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO).

“The government of South Africa will contribute troops to the UN intervention force into the eastern DRC,” Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga, the spokesperson of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) said on Sunday.

However, the size and timing of the deployment is not yet clear, and will depend on the terms set by the United Nations.

The March 23 movement (M23) rebels seized the eastern city of Goma on November 20, 2012 after UN peacekeepers gave up the battle for the frontier city, which is home to about one million people. The rebels withdrew from the city on December 1 under a ceasefire accord.

The UN has previously accused neighboring Rwanda and Uganda of helping rebels in the eastern Congo, an accusation both countries vehemently deny.

The M23 rebels defected from the Congolese army in April 2012 in protest over alleged mistreatment in the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). They had previously been integrated into the Congolese army under a peace deal signed in 2009.

Since early May 2012, nearly 3 million people have fled their homes in the eastern Congo. About 2.4 million have resettled in Congo, but more than 460,000 have crossed into neighboring Rwanda and Uganda.

Congo has faced numerous problems over the past few decades, such as grinding poverty, crumbling infrastructure, and a war in the east of the country that has dragged on since 1998 and left over 5.5 million people dead.

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