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Tanzania to send troops to DR Congo despite rebel threat

Tuesday April 16 2013


Tanzania said on Monday it will send its troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) any time from now despite threats by the M23, a rebellious group which said any armies sent to the central African state would be dealt with accordingly.

Speaking in an interview, Director of Information Assah Mambwene said at least Tanzania's 800 troops will land in the DRC any time from now, adding that the East African country will not be wavered by any threats from the rebellious group.

The Tanzanian troops will join their counterparts from South Africa and Malawi to provide a balance to the already prevailing United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO). The country has suffered years of conflict with the M23 launching the latest rebellion in April 2012.

Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa decided to send troops to the DRC after complaints by the Great Lakes nations that the present UN forces have been doing little to bring about peace in that country.

About three weeks ago, the M23 issued threats to Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi, saying if they send in troops to DR Congo, they will be attacked by the mutinous group.

South Africa for its part has said that despite the killing of some of its soldiers serving in Central African Republic, it still will send troops to the DRC under the UN mission.

At the end of last year, the M23 group attacked the army in the eastern DRC and occupied the area's biggest capital of Goma, causing outflow of refugees. The rebel group later pulled out of the town under the pressure from regional countries.

Tanzania has major concerns in the ongoing civil strife in DR Congo, as instability in that part of the continent acts as the cradle of refugee creation. In the presence of war, most of the refugees cross the border to Tanzania to seek asylum.