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SADC's Decisive Mission to Restore Peace in the Eastern DRC Amidst Escalating Conflicts and Rwandan Tensions

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Erin Brewer

Jan 6, 2024

SADC Forces Join FARDC to Counter Armed Groups, Seeking Stability Amidst Diplomatic Strains

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC)

The deployment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC) was initiated on December 15, 2023, as a response to escalating conflicts and instability in the eastern DRC, largely attributed to the resurgence of armed groups. This mission, approved at the Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in May 2023, is a collective effort involving forces from Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, and elements of the DRC's Armed Forces (FARDC). It represents a regional response to the deteriorating security situation in the Eastern DRC, emphasizing the principle of collective self-defense and action as outlined in the SADC Mutual Defence Pact of 2003​​. (SADC Deployment)

Brigadier General Monwabisi Dyakopu.
Brigadier General Monwabisi Dyakopu.

The mission, led by Major General Monwabisi Dyakopu from South Africa, is a testament to SADC's commitment to support the DRC in achieving lasting peace and stability, thereby fostering an environment conducive to sustainable development and prosperity. The deployment aligns with the principle that any armed attack against one of the States Parties is considered a threat to regional peace and security, warranting immediate collective action​​.

Regarding the effectiveness of the SADC force, it is essential to note that previous missions, such as those by MONUSCO and the East African Community Regional Force, have not been able to neutralize the main rebel groups operating in the eastern DRC for the last 20 years. The new intervention force must be sizeable, well-equipped, and capable of special forces operations in challenging terrain.

However, there are concerns about the resources and capabilities of the forces involved, particularly the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which is leading the SADC intervention force. The SANDF is reportedly overstretched and underfunded, facing discrepancies between its expected roles and the available resources.

In terms of the impact on the current Rwandan regime under President Paul Kagame, the situation is highly contingent on the outcomes of these interventions and diplomatic efforts. President Tshisekedi's stance against Kagame, particularly if re-elected, could escalate tensions. However, the effectiveness of the SADC mission, Rwanda's response, and international diplomatic efforts will significantly shape the future course of these tensions.

In summary, the deployment of the SADC mission represents a significant regional effort to restore stability in the DRC. However, its success and the broader impact on the M23 conflict and Rwanda's regime will depend on various factors, including the mission's effectiveness, the cooperation between different regional forces, and the evolving political dynamics between the DRC and Rwanda.

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