SADC commits long-term support to stabilize DR Congo

Moroccan peacekeepers from MONUSCO (The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) are stuck in the mud on the outskirts of Jina village, in the Djugu Region, on September 14, 2020. - In northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, in the Djugu region, Ituri Province, Jina and surrounding villages have been repeatedly attacked. Since the end of 2017, the conflict in Ituri has resulted in several hundred deaths and more than one and a half million displaced persons. Most of the massacres are attributed to armed militias belonging to the Lendu community and claiming to defend themselves against the Congolese army and the Hema community. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP) (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP via Getty Images)

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) reiterated its full support for efforts to stabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo beyond the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

Moroccan peacekeepers from MONUSCO on the outskirts of Jina village, in the Djugu Region, in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo. (Photo by ALEXIS HUGUET/AFP via Getty Images)

The announcement was made following the conclusion of an Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit convened by Botswana’s President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi.

The bloc’s Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit pledged regional support to the development and implementation of the joint strategy on the progressive and phased drawdown of MONUSCO in the DR Congo.

Masisi, who chairs the bloc’s organ on politics, defence and security co-operation, said the bloc’s intention was to achieve sustainable peace and security in the DR Congo, and create an environment conducive for regional integration and socioeconomic development.

“I am, therefore, confident that this expression of commitment towards finding solutions to the problems afflicting our region will go a long way in ensuring that SADC continues to lead in terms of regional integration and socioeconomic development,” Masisi said.

In October, a report by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the peacekeeping mission could be reduced in certain areas over the next few years.

The report outlined ways the drawdown could continue without setting a deadline for complete withdrawal.

It, however, said the mission would “gradually consolidate its footprint” in three provinces in the east where there is still active conflict.

The DR Congo’s eastern region has been hit by a surge in violence, particularly this year, caused by armed rebel groups and intercommunity conflict.

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) took over from an earlier UN peacekeeping operation in July 2010. Its primary objectives are to protect civilians and support the stabilization and strengthening of State institutions in the country and key governance and security reforms.