DRC President Felix Tshisekedi has reached out to the European Union and his Ugandan counterpart President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni about deploying troops in Eastern Congo where rebels are reported to be causing atrocities.
This could be the first time that European troops will be back on Congolese soil since 2006 as Kinshasa seeks to deliver a final blow to rebels wreaking havoc in its east. President Felix Tshisekedi has approached Brussels to help train Congolese armed forces.
On Tuesday, the EU’s envoy to Kinshasa confirmed the news and held a meeting with Congo’s defence minister to iron out details of the deployment.
Why Does DRC need EU and Uganda’s Troops?
Congo was also in talks with Uganda to deploy a joint force against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels who operate out of North Kivu, Uganda’s government-owned New Vision reported Friday. The United Nations says the group killed 851 people in eastern Congo last year alone.
In March, the suspected Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militia fighters were reported to have killed 23 people in yet another massacre in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a senior local official said.
Fighters attacked Beu Manyama-Moliso village in the Beni region, North Kivu provincial Governor Carly Nzanzu Kasivita. Ugandan troops have been in and out of Congo in recent years, sometimes without Kinshasa’s permission.
Congo is seeking to eliminate dozens of armed groups that roam its east and introduced martial law in North Kivu and Ituri provinces at the beginning of May.
Army officers took over from civilian governors under what Tshisekedi termed as a ‘state of siege’. The deployment of EU personnel and Ugandan troops will lead to further militarization of the region, where thousands of UN peacekeepers are already also based.
Several United Nations reports have also accused Rwanda and Burundi of maintaining a military presence in eastern Congo.
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Author: Moses Echodu
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