Angola to send troops to conflict-torn DR Congo

Angola announced on Saturday that it will send an army unit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, after the conflict between rebel forces and government forces collapsed.

Eastern DR Congo has seen an outbreak of violence since a militant group known as M23 took up arms in late 2021, continuing to seize territory.

Angola has been involved in mediation talks in the conflict, but the latest ceasefire it negotiated broke down on Tuesday, a day before it was due to start.

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On Saturday, the president of the country said that they will “send a group of soldiers to his neighbours in the north.

“The main objective of this unit is to keep the area where the M23 group is and to protect” the members of the group responsible for monitoring compliance and stopping the violence, the president said in a statement.

Luanda said the decision was made after discussions with Kinshasa, adding that other regional leaders and the United Nations have been informed.

The move must be approved by parliament, where the ruling party, in power since the 1970s, has a good majority.

No further details on the size of the force were immediately available.

This comes as heavy fighting is reported near the eastern city of Goma, which is increasingly threatened by M23 rebels.

M23, whose name means the March 23 Movement, is one of the many militias that roam the eastern DR Congo, many of them the legacy of two regional wars that began at the end of the 20th century.

In 2012, Tutsi-led rebels captured Goma shortly before a joint Congolese-UN offensive drove them out.

But fighting broke out again in late 2021 as the M23 accused the Congolese government of reneging on promises to deploy its troops to the army.

The DRC accuses its smaller neighbor Rwanda of supporting the group, which Kigali denies, and countries in the region have launched coalition forces to stabilize the region.

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