The announcement was made by Lieutenant General Fall Sikabwe, coordinator of military operations of DRC’s military in North Kivu, during the first joint meeting between the DRC military and SADC.
According to the DRC authorities, this SADC military force would carry out offensive operations, essentially targeting the rebels of the March 23 Movement (M23) who occupy several areas in the territory of Masisi and that of Rutshuru, located in the province of North Kivu.
"The SADC comes with an offensive mission. With the mandate of the heads of state member of the SADC, we will initiate large-scale operations against the enemies of the Republic", said Fall Sikabwe, stressing that he is to put an end to hostility which has persisted for months.
Composed mainly of military elements from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi, this SADC military force replaces the regional force of the East African Community (EAC). DRC authorities deemed the EAC regional force ineffective and refused to renew its mandate.
For the moment, only South Africa and Malawi have already deployed part of its soldiers in Goma. Tanzania hopes to transfer its elements which are already on Congolese soil within the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, whose mandate should expire by the end of 2024.
Since late Monday, violent fighting broke out between the M23 rebels and the Congolese military in the territory of Masisi. Detonations of heavy and light weapons are heard in these areas, forcing a large number of residents to leave for the town of Sake, the city’s last bulwark.
Goma, a tourist town known for economic activities in the region, was occupied by the M23 for 10 days in December 2012.