Southern Africa Sending Standby Force to Eastern Congo

Filed under: Africa,Featured |
Standby Force DR Congo

The force will help DR Congo protect its territory

AFRICANGLOBE – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has decided to activate its stand-by force and dispatch it to the troubled eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where rebels of the M23 movement are fighting against the Congolese government.

The unit will be under the auspices of the Neutral International force (NIF), and its commander will be appointed by Tanzania.

This decision was taken on Saturday, during an extraordinary one day summit of SADC heads of state and government in Dar es Salaam, chaired by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, in his capacity as the current SADC chairperson.

SADC has about a week to activate its stand-by force, and the entire deployment could cost about 100 million US dollars. Part of this sum has already been made available by the DRC itself. Tanzania and South Africa have promised to send a battalion and logistical support to the NIF.

The idea for such a neutral force, to be placed along the border between the DRC and Rwanda, was backed by the African Union in September, after frustration at the failure of the United Nations force in the region (MONUSCO) to deal with the M23 rebellion.

Military Tourism in Congo

In SADC’s understanding, MONUSCO has been unable to cope with the problem, and so the summit urged the UN to change the mandate of MONUSCO, granting it the power for direct armed reaction to any attacks.

To date, MONUSCO’s physical presence only exists to guarantee humanitarian activities. Such activities are of dubious value in an area where murder, rape and looting by armed groups are reported every day.

The summit reaffirmed the indivisibility of the DR Congo, and respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity. It expressed deep concern at the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the eastern DR Conngo and strongly condemned the M23 for its attacks against civilians, the UN forces and humanitarian agencies.

“We are open to dialogue, but we are also not prepared to continue watching as defenceless people are killed”, said Guebuza at a press conference held immediately after the close of the summit.

He did not specify in what way Mozambique would support the Neutral International Force, but declared that the decision was “important and necessary”. He stressed that other countries will also decide how to support the force, “because the foundations for this have already been laid”.

Guebuza stressed that SADC will work with the International Conference for the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the African Union, and the United Nations itself, in search of support that can ensure success for the activities of the NIF.

The current ICGLR chairperson, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who was invited to take part in the summit, said that the UN force was engaged in nothing more than “military tourism”, since its presence in the DR Congo had made no difference.

The summit also decided that SADC should continue efforts to persuade both the ousted president of Madagascar, Mark Ravalomanana, and the man who overthrew him, Andry Rajoelina, not to compete in next year’s general elections. It is hoped that, if both rivals withdraw, this will help overcome the political crisis that broke out with Rajoelina’s coup d’etat of March 2009. Since that date, Madagascar has been suspended from both SADC and the African Union.

Madagascar’s next presidential elections are scheduled for 18 May 2013, and parliamentary elections should follow on 25 July. In response to a request from Madagascar, SADC has promised to contribute ten million US dollars towards the costs of the elections.

The summit endorsed the report from the SADC mediator on the Madagascan crisis, former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano. It reiterated the SADC position that an amnesty law should be implemented to allow all political exiles, including Ravalomanana, to return to the country.

SADC also wanted the transitional authorities in Antananarivo to revoke all legislation that would prevent Madagascan citizens from participating in the next elections.

  • https://www.facebook.com/100000452114574 Tamba Charles Gbenda

    Can any one Hear about Doctor Death during the Aparthend days in South Africa

  • https://www.facebook.com/100000452114574 Tamba Charles Gbenda

    When the MOSQUITO is kill or destroy then we Africans of Africa will live in one JUSTIC for all not for one.

  • https://www.facebook.com/100000452114574 Tamba Charles Gbenda

    We have the Mosquito which is the most infected man made SPREADING DISEASE, The Mosquito’s are the [ WHITE MAN ] (HONKEYs), in our land of AFRICAN. Since the mosquito came into our land, disease of all kinds are now in AFRICA Land the frist one Slvery, Aparthend, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and now AIDs . So we should find ways of destroying or Spray them ( kill them ) or the mosquito will worp us out of Africa for it is rich in wot name it, it is Africa.Can any one remember during Aparthend day’s in South Africa had some Scientist in a laboratory making Creating DIESEASE to wrap our race out the Earth and take Africa for them self but they can not do that anymore for it too late, THE TOOLS THAT THEY GIVE US TO TRIANED US WITH FOR PROTECTION THAT WILL BE SAME ONE WE WILL USED AGAIST THEM TO DESTROY OR KILL THE MOSQUITO. THE YOUTH OF TODAY’s AFRICA Blessing to all Humans that stand up. History

  • https://www.facebook.com/100000315366464 Anthony Lanos

    United Africa stands, divided it falls, one nation at a time. Ally up, unite, break out the big guns, and peace will be restored.

  • https://www.facebook.com/100000340653084 Mervyn Julius Matthias Douglas

    African people must find African solutions to African problems, the UN are useless and ineffective – that has been proven in recent situations like this around the globe – therefore if regional heads of stae in Africa can come together abd share ideas, vision and good practice and deal with these issues themselves. About time too – so respect is due to the member states of the SADC for having the foresight to put this plan into practice.