Two South African soldiers killed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Two South African soldiers died in mortar fire in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa's first casualties since the deployment of troops from that country, announced Thursday (February 15) South African Army (SANDF)

Two South African soldiers killed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Two South African soldiers died in mortar fire in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa's first casualties since the deployment of troops from that country, announced Thursday (February 15) South African Army (SANDF).

“A mortar bomb landed at one of the bases of the South African military contingent and caused casualties and injuries to SANDF soldiers,” she said in a statement. Following this indirect fire, the SANDF deplored two deaths and the serious injuries of three elements. The injured were transported to the nearest hospital in Goma [capital of the North Kivu province] to receive medical treatment. »

These are South Africa's first deaths since it deployed 2,900 troops to eastern DRC in mid-December. The troops were sent as part of a southern African regional force, also including military personnel from Malawi and Tanzania, tasked with helping DRC government forces fight March 23 Movement rebels. (M23).

Since the end of 2021, North Kivu has been gripped by a conflict between the M23, supported by units of the Rwandan army, and the Congolese army associated in particular with so-called “patriotic” armed groups. The region is the scene of violence by armed groups, many of them stemming from the regional wars of the 1990s. The DRC, the United Nations and Western countries accuse Rwanda of supporting the rebels with the aim of controlling the region's vast mineral resources, which Kigali denies.

In recent days, clashes have intensified towards Sake, a town located about twenty kilometers west of Goma and considered a strategic barrier on the road to the provincial capital.