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Two South African soldiers killed in Congo

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Two South African soldiers killed in Congo

Frankfurt am Main, Kinshasa (epd). Two South African soldiers from the Southern Africa Military Mission have been killed in a bomb explosion in eastern Congo. The explosive device was fired from a mortar shell and landed in a base belonging to the South African contingent, South Africa’s Ministry of Defense said on Thursday. Three other soldiers were also injured in the incident on Wednesday near the provincial capital Goma. These are the first deaths of the South African contingent since the start of the Southern African Development Community (SAMIDRC) military mission in mid-December.

Violence between around 120 rebel groups and the army has been raging in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo for years. The situation in the province of North Kivu has deteriorated significantly, particularly since the M23 militia, which the United Nations says is supported by Rwanda, rose again around two years ago. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) military mission, which also includes troops from Malawi and Tanzania, is to help restore peace and security in the region at the request of the Congolese government.

South Africa recently announced that it would send a total of 2,900 soldiers to eastern Congo, where they will stay until mid-December 2024. Numerous other military missions have so far failed to bring peace to the region. After a withdrawal request from the Congolese government, the United Nations mission (Monusco) with around 14,000 soldiers has been in retreat since December. The blue helmet soldiers are repeatedly the target of attacks because the population is frustrated by the persistently poor security situation. A force from the East African Community (EAC) also left Congo at the government’s behest.

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Currently, the capital of North Kivu province, Goma, is once again threatened by the advance of the M23 rebels. The militiamen have taken over important roads in the surrounding area and attacked numerous nearby towns. The M23 is currently the largest and best organized militia in the region. Thousands of people have been killed in the fighting and, according to the UN, around 5.7 million people have fled.

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