Displaced Congolese people are reflected on a puddle, at the Muchacha primary school, where they live after recently fleeing from their Shasha village following clashes between M23 rebels and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) in Sake, the Democratic Republic of Congo February 6, 2024. REUTERS/Arlette Bashizi/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 12 (Reuters) – South Africa will send 2,900 troops as part of its contribution to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force deployed to tackle armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the president’s office said in a statement on Monday.

The one-year deployment will cover the period between Dec. 15. 2023 and Dec. 15, 2024, and will cost around 2 billion rand ($105.75 million), the statement said.

The 16-member state SADC approved the eastern Congo mission in May last year to help Congo, the world’s top supplier of cobalt and Africa’s top copper producer, address instability and deteriorating security in its restive eastern region.

Decades of conflicts in eastern Congo between myriad rival armed groups over land and resources has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than 7 million.

The SADC force has an offensive mandate to support Congo’s army fight armed groups. It will include troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania.

The deployment comes as Congo battles Tutsi-led M23 rebels whose attacks and advances in recent days, is threatening the North Kivu provincial capital, Goma.

($1 = 18.9133 rand)


(Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Marguerita Choy)