Heads of state from the member countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are convening in Angola on Saturday, November 4, 2023, to address various issues, with a significant focus on the situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The agenda for the discussions includes the establishment of a regional military force set to intervene in the region to combat the M23 rebellion, an issue under deliberation since May 8th. The primary objective is to replace the East African Community (EAC) troops, whose mandate expires on December 8th and is not expected to be extended by Congolese authorities.
President Tshisekedi is expected to be present in Luanda on Saturday, where several members of the Congolese delegation, including various ministers, have already arrived. The key outcome of this meeting will be the formalization of the deployment modalities for the SADC force, named SAMIDRC.
“We will have a precise plan after this meeting,” confirmed a team member. Meetings at different levels, including discussions among chief of staff and ministers, have taken place in recent days to fine-tune the details. However, it has been clarified by another source that there will be no announcement regarding the number of expected troops, as this information is classified as a matter of national security.
Nevertheless, troops are anticipated to come from at least three countries: South Africa, Malawi, and Tanzania, all of which have already expressed their intention to be troop-contributing nations.
The deployment process will need to expedite to avoid creating a security vacuum upon the departure of EAC troops scheduled for December and the gradual withdrawal of MONUSCO. This urgency is further emphasized by the recent resumption of hostilities, with the Congolese army claiming to have repelled M23 attacks in recent weeks.