Mortar bomb kills 3 Tanzanian soldiers in eastern DR Congo

DR Congo

People look inside a burnt vehicle in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo on February 10, 2024. PHOTO | REUTERS

Photo credit: Reuters

Three Tanzanian soldiers on deployment in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) peacekeeping force have been killed in a mortar attack on their station east of the country.

SADC confirmed in a statement late Monday that three other Tanzanian servicemen were also injured in the missile raid. 

“This unfortunate incident happened after a hostile mortar round had fallen near the camp where the soldiers were staying," the statement said without offering further details of where or when the attack occurred and who was responsible.

None of the soldiers has been named. The SADC statement also confirmed that a South African soldier had also died while being treated for "health challenges" in a Goma hospital.

The SADC Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC), which was deployed in December 2023, comprises soldiers from Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa.

It was approved by SADC heads of state at their last summit in Windhoek, Namibia in May 2023 as a bloc response to deteriorating security in Eastern DRC which has been ravaged by endless conflicts between scattered armed groups.

SADC says the peacekeeping force along with "elements of the DRC Armed Forces" are working with the officially recognized Forces Armees de la Republic Democratique du Congo (FARDC) to battle what are considered to be rebel elements in the area. 

The force is led by a South African military commander Maj-Gen Monwabisi Dyakopu.

In the latest violent episode in Eastern DR Congo, the civilian death toll from a militia attack rose to 25 over the weekend.

Additional reporting by Reuters