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FIGHTING A LOST BATTLE: South African Soldiers Made to Surrender Before Being Imprisoned by the M23 in the East

Several South African Defence Force (SANDF) troops deployed to support the efforts of the Congolese army (FARDC) in the ongoing war in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have surrendered to the M23 rebels this past week.

As part of an ill equipped and ill prepared force, the South African soldiers are now being held as hostages by the M23 fighters.

The soldiers were deployed to attack the M23 rebels specifically in the eastern region of the DRC following the withdrawal of the East African Regional Security Force that was led by Kenya that avoided a confrontation with the deadily M23 fighters.

In a exchange of huge financial guarantees from his DRC counterpart and business partner Fèlix Tshisekedi, Ramaphosa had hastily deployed 2,900 SANDF soldiers to destroy the M23 in the battle that has been hardened by the Tutsi insurgent group that has long been a security buffer between Rwanda and the Forces Democratiques du Liberation du Congo (FDLR).

However, Ramaphosa’s decision has been considered to be disastrous and unreasonable with the SANDF having fallen prey to the M23 since their deployment.

The SANDF continue to take heavy casualties and also recently reported that two of its soldiers had been killed in a mortar strike near the eastern city of Goma.

More casualties are likely every week to be taken in and beyond that looms the specter of a disastrous and costly strategic defeat of the South African forces.



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