SANDF soldier killed in hand grenade explosion in Democratic Republic of Congo, cause unclear
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SANDF soldier killed in hand grenade explosion in Democratic Republic of Congo, cause unclear

SANDF soldier killed in hand grenade explosion in Democratic Republic of Congo, cause unclear

The SANDF statement said a hand grenade exploded near sleeping quarters at the base in Beni. (Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images)

  • The SANDF and MONUSCO have launched an investigation into the explosion of a hand grenade near sleeping quarters at a base in Beni, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • The security situation in North Kivu has deteriorated, exposing South Kivu to a potential threat from M23 rebels.
  • The UN Security Council called on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda to stop supporting rebel forces.

On Monday, a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldier stationed as part of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) in North Kivu was killed in an incident.

A SANDF statement said a hand grenade exploded near sleeping quarters at the Beni base.

A commission of inquiry consisting of representatives from the SANDF and Monusco has been established because “it is not clear what caused the hand grenade to explode”.

The SANDF said in a statement that the name of the deceased would be released in due course once family members have been notified and the remains have been repatriated.

In December last year, the East African Community forces were replaced by SADC forces (SAMIDRC), and Malawi and Tanzania were placed under South African command.

Monusco is also planning a tactical withdrawal from the Democratic Republic of Congo after President Felix Tshisekedi asked the army to withdraw last year.

It’s getting worse

The security situation in North Kivu has deteriorated, exposing South Kivu to a potential threat from M23 rebels.

On Monday, Bintou Keita, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of Monusco, briefed the UN Security Council on the grave situation.

“The rapidly escalating M23 crisis carries a very real risk of sparking a wider regional conflict,” she said.

SAMIDRC forces have suffered numerous deaths, while the government’s armed forces, known as the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), fight to defend Goma and Sake.

In view of the deteriorating situation, the Security Council, at the request of the African Union, is expected to fully prepare the SAMIDRC force for operation in early August.

READ | On the 64th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Congo, M23 and Rwandan rebels speak to President Felix Tshisekedi about the war

This year, Monusco has trained 500 FARDC recruits.

But the serious concern is that further fighting could destabilize the Great Lakes region.

“If the fighting continues, there is a risk that it will spread to the Great Lakes region and have catastrophic consequences,” Michael Imran Kanu said, speaking on behalf of Algeria, Guyana, Mozambique and his home country, Sierra Leone.

He listed as the main participants in the conflict M23, the Ugandan rebel group United Democratic Forces, the remnants of the Rwandan genocidal group the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, and a group of numerous local rebels known by the French name Coopérative pour le développement du Congo.

Security Council accuses Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda of financing rebel forces.


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