Growing turmoil in resource-rich Democratic Republic of Congo

South African troops help army battle rebel groups in the world's leading cobalt producing country

Photo collage of Congolese refugees with military vehicles behind them. In the background, there is a large chunk of copper ore.
In 2022 Democratic Republic of Congo produced three-quarters of the world's cobalt and almost 10% of its copper. Control of these resources is bitterly contested
(Image credit: Illustration by Julia Wytrazek / Getty Images)

South Africa has sent nearly 3,000 troops to help tackle armed groups in war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the world's most volatile – and resource-rich –regions. 

The new soldiers "form the backbone" of the wider Southern African Development Community (SADC) force helping the DRC's army fight armed groups, according to BBC News. The 16-member state SADC approved the mission last year to "address instability and deteriorating security in its restive eastern region", said Reuters. Decades of bloody conflict between "myriad armed groups" has killed hundreds of thousands of people, and displaced more than 7 million. 

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