AFRICANGLOBE – The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be sending troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a UN intervention force, the defence force confirmed on Sunday.
“Yes, the government of South Africa will be sending troops or will contribute troops to the United Nations intervention force into the eastern DRC,” said Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.
“Last week the UN Security Council adopted a resolution which approved the deployment of an intervention force into the eastern DRC. And the government of South Africa pledged to contribute forces to that force,” he said.
Mabanga said there were no details yet on when and how many soldiers would be sent to the DRC.
“That will all come up on the United Nation’s force structures,” he said.
South African media is reporting that South African troops would be deployed in eastern DRC and would fight the rebel group M23.
The SANDF was part of a multilateral regional force, which included the armies of Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania, according to the newspaper.
It quoted rebel leader Bertrand Bisimwa saying: “We don’t want to kill our brothers from South Africa. We are asking them to support peace in Congo, not to come to fight.”
On its Twitter account the M23 rebel group said it was different from the Seleka rebels who killed 13 South African soldiers in Central African Republic (CAR), injuring 27 in the attack.
Mabanga said despite the recent death of South African soldiers in CAR, the SANDF “was ready to carry out any mission that it will be given to undertake.
“Casualties that were suffered in Central African Republic, that is not going to deter us from doing any other task,” Mabanga said.