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SADC Warns Rwanda Against Invading DRC

SADC President Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia

SADC President Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of Namibia

In its statement published on Saturday, September 14, 2013,  at the close of a summit of the Heads of State,  the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has expressed its concerns  at the increasing concentration of Rwandan troops along  the border  with the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC)  and  “expressed the hope that Rwanda is not contemplating to invade“.

The Summmit, held in Namibia  was attended by  DRC President Joseph Kabila Kabange, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete,  Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba,  and Malawian President Joyce Band. South Africa was by oreign Affairs Minister  Maite Nkoana-Mashabane,  Lesotho, by Prime Minister  Motsoahae Thomas Thabane.  The Namibian President presided over the summit.

In the statement, SADC leaders  expressed  their concern  “at the deployment of Rwandan troops along the common border” and called on the  neighbors of the DRC, presumably referring  to Rwanda and Uganda, to  “contribute to peace, security and stability of the DRC,” and praised the congolese government troops, FARDC, and the United Nations Intervention Brigade  for “continuing to exert military pressure on M23 and other negative forces in eastern DRC”.

The buildup of Rwandan troops along the DRC border and the warnings by SADC leaders may signal a new escalation in the conflict that has plagued  eastern DRC for decades. This also happens as the DRC government and Rwandan backed M23 rebels have resumed talks in Kampala. According to sources within M23 rebels, the talks have been not advanced and, after close to a week, the two parties still have to meet for the first time.

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