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HomeBreaking NewsANGOLAN TROOPS: 500 Military Personnel Deployed To East Congo To Restore Peace

ANGOLAN TROOPS: 500 Military Personnel Deployed To East Congo To Restore Peace

Angola’s parliament on Friday approved a year-long deployment of up to 500 soldiers to the Democratic Republic of Congo after a ceasefire Luanda brokered between rebels and government troops foundered.

General Francisco Furtado, minister of state and head of the military section in the Angolan presidency has said Luanda will send between 450 to 500 soldiers for 12 months.

“The Angolan armed forces’ mission will not involve combat” operations, Furtado said on public radio shortly after the vote.

It is “solely to supervise the process of disbanding, disarming and reintegrating the M23 forces,” he said, referring to the rebels.

The deployment was first announced on Saturday.

The main objective will be to “secure the areas where the members of the M23 are stationed and to protect” ceasefire monitors, the president’s office said.

After years of dormancy, the M23 — whose name stands for March 23 — kicked back into life in late 2021.

Last year it seized swathes of territory in the eastern DRC province of North Kivu and advanced on the city of Goma, triggering alarm bells around the region.

President Joao Lourenco has played a key mediation role in the conflict.

But the latest ceasefire he negotiated collapsed last week on the very day it was due to take effect.

Luanda said the deployment decision was taken after consultations with Kinshasa, and other regional leaders as well as the United Nations had been informed.

DRC President Felix Tshisekedi is expected in Luanda on Saturday, according to the Angolan presidency.

Kinshasa and several Western governments say the M23 rebels are backed by Rwanda eyeing the natural resources across the border, a claim angrily denied by Kigali.

Relations between the two neighbours have long been tense. The M23, associated with the Tutsi ethnic group, says it is fighting in part to protect Tutsis from rival Hutu extremist groups.

The M23 also claims the DRC government has reneged on a pledge to incorporate its fighters into the national army.

Angola’s looming deployment, which local media say could be within days, has stirred memories in the DRC of the Second Congo War of 1998-2002.

Nine African countries became embroiled in the conflict, and sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest nation was almost torn apart.

A regional bloc, the East African Community, has already deployed a joint force consisting of Kenyan and Burundi troops to supervise a theoretical pullback of M23 fighters.

CREDIT: Uganda Monitor

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