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Mortar Round Kills Three Tanzanian Soldiers in DR Congo

SADC attributes the death to a “hostile mortar round” that had fallen near the camp where the soldiers were staying, killing them and injuring three others.

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Dar es Salaam. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) announced Monday the passing of three Tanzanian soldiers who are part of the regional bloc’s Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC) deployed in the country to support the Congolese government to restore peace and security in eastern DRC.

In a statement, SADC said that the “unfortunate incident” happened after a hostile mortar round had fallen near the camp where the soldiers were staying. Apart from killing the three Tanzanian servicemen, the missile also injured three other soldiers.

None of the soldiers has been named, nor have further details been given on where or when the attack occurred. SADC has also not said who was responsible for the attack on its soldiers.

SAMIDRC was deployed on December 15, 2023, to support the government of the DRC to restore peace and security in the eastern DRC, which has witnessed an increase in conflicts and instability caused by the resurgence of armed groups.

READ MORE: Samia: The Future of the DRC Cannot Be Separated From the Rest of the Nations in the EAC

Its deployment followed an approval by the Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Windhoek, Namibia, on May 8, 2023, as a regional response to address the unstable and deteriorating security situation prevailing in the Eastern DRC.

Other countries contributing troops to the mission besides Tanzania include Malawi, South Africa and the DRC itself.

“The SADC family expresses its heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families,” the regional bloc said in the statement. “The SAMIDRC remains focused on carrying out its mandate as per the principle of collective self-defence and collective action outlined in the SADC Mutual Defence Pact (2003).

As of publication, Tanzanian authorities had not commented on the tragic incident, including explaining when the bodies of the slain servicemen will be brought to the country for burial. 

READ MORE: Minister Slams ‘Hype’ On DRC Mission: ‘Tanzania is Not at War with Any Armed Group in DRC’

Reports of the passing on of the Tanzanian soldiers come weeks after reports emerged on the intensification of the fight between SAMIDRC forces and rebel groups, chiefly the M23, leading to the deaths of scores and dispacing hundreds of others.

Analysts fear that the fighting, in a war that has lasted decades, has increased the risk of an all-out conflict between DRC and Rwanda, which the United Nations accuse of backing M23, charges Kigali denies, that could draw in neighbours and regional forces including South Africa, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

In February this year, the UN described the situation in the eastern DRC as among the “most complex, prolonged and protracted crises” in the world, lasting some three decades, urging world nations to do “all they can” to prevent the fighting in North Kivu province from spreading beyond the border.

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