DR Congo: South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Troops in SADC Mission (SAMIDRC) Killed by Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) Under the Cover of M23 Rebels

South Africa National Defense Force troops in DRC in February 2024

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On Monday Feb 12, 2024,  the South African government confirmed its decision to deploy more South African National Defense Force (SANDF) troops,  increasing its contribution to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force to help the Congolese forces, FARDC, in their fight against the armed groups in eastern Congo ( see here DR Congo: More Aggressive Protests Against Western Governments as UN Confirms Invasion by Rwandan Troops and South Africa Sends More Troops).

As the south African troops were being deployed, the Rwandan Defense Force (RDF) troops, under the cover of the M23 rebels, launched bombs on  the military camps of SANDF,  killing 2 south African  soldiers and wounding a number of other troops(see pictures at the bottom).  The attack has fueled questions on whether RDF are ready to  directly confront SANDF.

Following the attack by RDF forces under the cover of M23 rebels,  the South African military office issued a statement about the bombing and the casualties. The statement confirmed the killings saying that:  

”The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) confirms that on 14 February 2024 at about 13h30, a mortar bomb landed inside one of the South African contingent's military bases inflicting casualties and injuries to SANDF soldiers.
As a result of this indirect fire, the SANDF suffered two (2) fatalities and three (3) members sustained injuries. The injured were taken to the nearest hospital in Goma for medical treatment."

The details and motivations behind the attack remain vague but the South African military spokesperson has informed that a investigation on the details of the attacks are underway,  adding that:

Details of this incident are still sketchy at the moment, further investigation will be conducted to determine the basis of the incident.”.
However, the attack appears expected given the recent statements issued by M23 Rebels.


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A Well Coordinated Attack by RDF Under the Cover of M23 Rebels Against the South African Defense Force Troops

In fact, as soon as the South African government announced the deployment of the SANDF troops, the RDF,  under  the cover of M23 rebels,  issued a statement threatening to neutralize all international forces, whether from SAMIDRC, United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), or others,  which would be deployed to support the  FARDC.  

They went further on their threats saying, in their statement that  the “M23 is obliged to repel these diabolical forces and put them out of harm’s way” .

  A few days earlier, on February 2, 2024  a MONUSCO  helicopter carrying medical evacuations came under fire during an attack by RDF under the cover of M23 rebels, around Karuba in Masisi territory. During the attack two  South African peacekeepers  were seriously injured.
Following the attack of RDF under the cover of M23 rebels and the killing of SANDF soldiers within SADEC mission in DR Congo (SAMIDRC)  serious questions are being raised. According to independent observers and other sources within SAMIDRC contacted by AfroAmerica Network, it was understood that SAMIDRC forces are deployed in DRC  to reinforce the FARDC and  assist the Congolese government in its efforts to bring peace, security and stability to this region.  

Since the RDF - M23 rebels forces specifically targeted SANDF camps,  worries about the rising instability and conflict expansion are highlighted. One major worry is whether the  Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) ready to directly confront  the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) troops and bear the potentially far reaching consequences?

  Meanwhile, AfroAmerica Network has received photos related to the attacks (see below).

Radar attacks RDF - SADF

Figure 1: Map indicating the position of the Radar of the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) at KAHUNGA

Figure 2: Radar of RDF Forces at KAHUNGA,  6 km North of the town of  KIWANJA, on  RN2, Road linking  KIWANJA to the MABENGA bridge

Figure 3: Position of the Radar of the Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) at KAHUNGA

Figure 4: KAHUNGA position,  6 km North of the town of  KIWANJA, where the Radar of RDF Forces was located.

AfroAmerica Network is still following the dynamics.

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