Angola to send forces to conflict-torn DR Congo

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Angola said on Saturday it will send a military unit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, after a ceasefire it brokered between rebel militiamen and government troops collapsed.

The DR Congo’s restive east has witnessed a flare up in violence since a militia called M23 took up arms again in late 2021, going on to capture swathes of territory.

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Angola has played a mediator role in the conflict, but the latest ceasefire it negotiated collapsed on Tuesday on the same day it was due to take effect.

On Saturday, the country’s presidency said that it “will send a unit” of its armed forces to its northern neighbor.

“This unit’s main objective is to secure the areas where the members of the M23 are stationed and to protect” members of a team tasked with monitoring compliance with the ceasefire, the presidency said in a statement.

Luanda said the decision was taken after consultations with Kinshasa, adding other regional leaders as well as the United Nations had been informed.

The deployment needs approval from parliament, where the ruling party, which has been in power since the 1970s, holds a comfortable majority.

No further details about the size of the force were immediately available.

The move comes as fierce fighting was reported near the eastern city of Goma, which is increasingly threatened by M23 rebels.

The M23, whose name stands for the March 23 Movement, is one of scores of armed groups that roam eastern DR Congo, many of them a legacy of two regional wars that flared at the end of the 20th century.

In 2012, the Tutsi-led group briefly captured Goma before a joint Congolese-UN offensive drove it out.

But fighting erupted again in late 2021 after the M23 accused the Congolese government of ignoring a promise to integrate its fighters into the army.

The DRC accuses its smaller neighbor Rwanda of supporting the group, something that Kigali denies, and regional countries have deployed a joint force aimed at stabilizing the region.

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