Two South African Soldiers Killed on DR Congo Mission

South Africa said Thursday that two of its soldiers had been killed by mortar fire in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the first fatalities since troops deployed to help quell an insurgency.

The South African military said three more soldiers were injured in the incident on Wednesday near the eastern city of Goma.

“A mortar bomb landed inside one of the South African contingent military bases inflicting casualties and injuries to the SANDF soldiers,” the South African National Defence Force said.

“As a result of this indirect fire, the SANDF suffered two fatalities and three members sustained injuries,” the statement added.

The injured were taken to the nearest hospital in Goma, the capital of the troubled North Kivu province, the statement added.

The deaths mark the first fatalities for South Africa since it deployed 2,900 soldiers in eastern DR Congo in mid-December.

The troops were sent as part of a southern African regional force, also including soldiers from Malawi and Tanzania, tasked with helping DR Congo government forces fight M23 rebels.

The mostly Tutsi M23 group has seized vast swathes of North Kivu since emerging from dormancy in late 2021. The region has been wracked by violence in the decades since regional wars in the 1990s.

Clashes have intensified in recent days around the strategic town of Sake, which lies about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Goma.

The DRC, the UN, and Western countries accuse Rwanda of supporting the rebels in a bid to control the region’s vast mineral resources, an allegation Kigali denies.

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