Displaced Congolese people reflect in a puddle of water, at the Muchacha primary school, where they live after recently fleeing their village of Shasha, following clashes between M23 rebels and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in Sake, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, February 6, 2024. REUTERS/Arlette Bashizi/File photo

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa will send 2,900 troops as part of its contribution to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force deployed to combat armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the president's office said in a statement on Monday. fair.

The one-year deployment will cover the period between December 15, 2023 and December 15, 2024 and will cost around 2 billion rand ($105.75 million), the statement said.

SADC's 16 member states approved the mission to eastern Congo in May last year to help Congo, the world's biggest supplier of cobalt and Africa's biggest copper producer, confront instability and deteriorating security in its restive eastern region.

Decades of conflict in eastern Congo between myriad armed groups rivaling land and resources have killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced more than 7 million.

The SADC force has an offensive mandate to support the Congolese army in the fight against armed groups. It will include troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania.

The mobilization comes at a time when Congo is fighting the Tutsi-led M23 rebels, whose attacks and advances in recent days threaten the capital of North Kivu province, Goma.

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