South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa

South Africa is mobilizing a force of 2,900 soldiers to support the Democratic Republic of Congo in combating armed rebel groups in the east, announced President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday. The deployment, estimated to cost R2 billion ($105m; £83m), is slated to extend until December this year. Joining the effort, Malawi and Tanzania will also contribute troops to this mission, which supplants the East African regional force, deemed ineffective by the Congolese government and withdrawn from the DRC last December.

This troop deployment is part of South Africa’s commitment to the Southern African Development Community’s Eastern Congo Mission, sanctioned in May of the previous year to address the escalating security challenges in the region. Recent weeks have seen a surge in violence in the east, marked by lethal assaults orchestrated by the M23 rebel group, prompting the displacement of thousands who sought refuge in Goma, a city in North Kivu province.

The M23 rebel group’s continued aggression has prompted further concerns as they advance towards Goma, heightening tensions in the region. The deployment of troops from South Africa, Malawi, and Tanzania underscores the collective regional response to the deteriorating security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern territories.