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Clashes Broke Out After the Meeting of SADC and Burundi Army Chiefs in Congo

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Serge Kabongo

Mar 4, 2024

War In Congo

FARDC army Vehicle photo/ Daniel Michombero

Renewed clashes have erupted in Masisi territory, DRC, particularly in Mweso and Mabenga, with reports of heavy gunfire since early Monday. This resurgence of violence follows a confrontation on Sunday near Sake, marking a concerning escalation in the region's conflict.

The M23 rebel group claims that a coalition, comprising DRC government forces, the Wazalendo rebels, and military units from select SADC countries alongside Burundi, initiated an offensive employing heavy artillery and tanks. This assertion comes in the wake of a strategic assembly of military chiefs from Burundi, the DRC, Malawi, South Africa, and Tanzania in Goma, which concluded with a visit to Mumbamiro, near Sake's central area.

Maj. Gen. Sylvain Ekenge, spokesperson for the DRC army, conveyed that the high-ranking officers are set to directly oversee military operations on the ground to bolster ongoing efforts. This move, according to Ekenge, underscores the collective resolve of SADC members and Burundi to collaborate with the DRC in restoring peace to the troubled eastern regions.

The latest skirmishes underscore the fragile state of security in eastern DRC, despite regional efforts to stabilize the situation. The involvement of multiple armed factions and the backing of foreign troops in the conflict zones not only complicates the path to peace but also highlights the strategic importance of the area, both politically and geographically.

As the situation unfolds, the international community watches closely, hoping for a resolution that brings lasting peace to the region, which has long been marred by violence and instability. The commitment by SADC and Burundi to support the DRC's peace endeavors is a positive step, yet the effectiveness of these measures remains to be seen as the dynamics on the ground evolve.

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