M23 appeals to South Africans not to send troops to the DRC

By Henry D Gombya

Lt Gen VR Masondo, South African army chief of staff, meets with top MONUSCO military officers, during a SADC delegation preliminary visit in North Kivu.
Lt Gen VR Masondo (2nd from left), South African army chief of staff, meets with top MONUSCO military officers, during a SADC delegation preliminary visit in North Kivu last month.

The President of the March 23 (M23) Movement has made an appeal to the people of South Africa through their parliament to convince the government of President Jacob Zuma not to send South African troops to take part in the UN-mandated Special Brigade set to enter the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and fight rebels engaged in disputes with Mr Kabila.

In a letter he has written to the South African parliament, a copy of which we have seen, M Bertrand Bisimwa the M23 political leader appealed to South African not to send their troops in what he called ‘an absurd war against their Congolese brothers’. Early this month, the UN Security Council approved an intervention brigade that would be mandated to disarming all fighting factions in the DRC, starting with the M23 Movement.

On Sunday, South Africa announced it had agreed to send its troops to participate in the work of the intervention brigade. Other countries expected to contribute troops are Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique. M Bisimwa said: “Consequently, the M23 [will not be responsible for] this mutual massacre which seems to be programmed just to please those who, from their air-conditioned [offices] in New York skyscrapers, have nothing but contempt and ignore our values and our Pan-African beliefs.”

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