On 15 December 2023, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) deployed a mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support the Congolese government. The objective is to fill the security vacuum in eastern DRC provinces. It follows the withdrawal of troops from a previous international mission, the East African Regional Force (EARF) from the same area. As activity by the M23 rebel group rises, the mission’s success is an open question.
Key Judgement 1: It is highly unlikely that SADC will effectively neutralise armed militias in the near term.
Key Judgement 2: M23 rebels will likely leverage superior knowledge of eastern DRC’s geography to entrench their foothold in the region.
Key Judgement 3: SADC will likely require external financial support to sustain the mission in the long term.