South Africa extends army’s mandate in DR Congo
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday prolonged the mandate of over 1,300 soldiers as part of a UN peacekeeping force in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The deployment “has been extended from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015”, Pretoria said in a statement on the same day regional leaders met to discuss the conflict.
South African soldiers are part of a UN intervention brigade in the conflict-torn region, which has an unprecedented mandate to battle the armed movements long active in eastern Congo.
Zuma also increased the force by six to 1,345.
Meanwhile Great Lakes leaders at a mini-summit in Angola condemned the actions of rebels in the DRC’s mineral-rich North Kivu province.
“These harmful incidents have to be controlled by the relevant authorities… to prevent them from becoming a threat to regional stability,” Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said in the capital Luanda.
He urged the neutralisation of “negative forces” from especially two rebel groupings, the ADF-Nalu, a Ugandan Islamist group, and the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu militia that includes some the perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.
Leaders from the Congo, the DRC, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda also attended the summit.