DR Congo Rebels Kill South African Soldier, Wound 13

One South African soldier died, and 13 more were wounded in a battle with M23 rebels in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the army said Friday.

South African troops have been deployed in the country as part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) force helping the government put down a rebellion.

There have been several clashes between the force and the M23, the latest on Thursday at Sake, a town 25 kilometers (14 miles) west of Goma in restive North Kivu province.

The South African Defence Headquarters said a “battle ensued between M23 and our forces” in which “13 members were injured and one was fatally wounded.”

“All the injured members were evacuated to Goma Hospital and are recuperating. Meanwhile two armoured personnel carriers were damaged during the engagement,” it said.

Two South African soldiers were killed by mortar fire in February, the first soldiers to perish since the country deployed troops to the region in December.

Three Tanzanian soldiers, also part of the SADC force, were killed in April by mortars.

The March 23 Movement resumed its armed campaign in eastern DRC at the end of 2021, seizing swathes of territory in war-torn but mineral-rich North Kivu.

The Congolese army has tried to repel the rebel group, which has almost entirely encircled Goma, the provincial capital, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people have sought shelter.

The FARDC launched an offensive some 10 days ago in North Kivu in a bid to re-capture areas occupied by the M23.

Over the last few days, the M23 has progressed towards the strategic town of Kanyabayonga, home to more than 60,000 people.

The fighting, which took place on Thursday about five kilometers (three miles) south of Kanyabayonga, moved into the town on Friday, local sources said, adding that the rebels had been pushed back by government forces.

A bombing on Friday also killed several civilians in Sake, according to administrative and health sources.

The east of the DRC has seen 30 years of violence by armed groups, local or foreign.

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