DRC: SADC generals gathered in Goma to fight against the M23 DRC: SADC generals gathered in Goma to fight against the M23

DRC: SADC generals gathered in Goma to fight against the M23

DRC: SADC generals gathered in Goma to fight against the M23

The chiefs of staff of the member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) visited Goma where the M23 rebel group is making an advance.

Army chiefs held a meeting in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city to assess the current situation characterized by an upsurge in fighting in recent weeks between M23 rebels and the Congolese armed forces.

“It was a matter of assessing the progress of operations on the ground and refining strategies to strengthen them (military operations). Their (the SADC and DRC chiefs of staff) visit to Goma is a strong signal of the commitment and determination of SADC and Burundi alongside the DRC,” declared General Sylvain Ekenge, spokesperson for the Congolese army. 

This was the first coordination meeting of the chiefs of staff since the deployment of SADC troops to North Kivu.

"We welcome the presence (of the SADC chiefs of staff) here, and we believe that this has enabled them to understand the situation here, to have experienced the reality on the ground in terms of insecurity, because when "They were here, SakΓ© was bombed, five bombs yesterday.", explained Placide Nzilamba, a member of civil society in Goma. 

Some residents of the city of Goma are not yet convinced of the effectiveness of SADC troops, as well as their legitimacy to act in this context.

On Thursday, SADC armored vehicles were hit in an M23 attack, injuring 4 people, including a Tanzanian soldier from the contingent and civilians.

“We remain skeptical because we know that the future of Congo in terms of security can only come from internal strategies given by the FARDC (Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo) and not by the SADC countries.”, said Muisa Christian, resident of Goma. 

This week, United Nations peacekeepers handed over their first military base to security forces in eastern Congo, part of a possible withdrawal after decades of operations in the country.

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