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Death toll soars under year of DR Congo’s ‘state of siege’ – The Citizen



Democratic Republic of the imposed A “siege situation” a year ago in an attempt to restore order in two provinces wrapped in violence, but the number of civilian deaths has almost doubled with lawmakers expressing anger.

Between April 2020 and May 2021, 1,374 people were killed, said analyst Reagan Miviri of the esteemed Kivu Security Tracker (KST) which monitors the bloodshed.

He is primarily to blame for the attacks on the infamous rebel groups of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Congolese Development Cooperative (CODECO), which terrorize North-Kivu and Ituri.

From May 2021 to April 2022, at least 2,563 civilians were killed in both provinces, KST says.

They were besieged on May 6 last year, a strict measure that gave the army and police full powers to run the administration and the wage war on the hundreds or so of armed groups that marched through eastern Congo. fourth. of century.

For Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, the siege and military operations have reduced the “negative forces’ zone of action”.

As a result, he told French radio station RFI on Tuesday that the authorities are considering changing the area covered by the siege, “because the precision occurs in certain areas”.

The siege has resulted in the army commanding numerous attacks against rebel strongholds.

KST has recorded about 600 conflicts in the past year, compared to 400 in the previous 12 months.

“ADF rebels are being hunted by many bastions from which organized training, indoctrination and attacks against military and civilian positions,” said Captain Anthony Mualushayi, an army spokesman for the Beni region in North-Kivu.

In late November, the Ugandan army entered DR DR Congo to pursue the pursuit of the ADF, regarded by the Islamic State extremist group as its central African affiliates, and charged with massacres in Uganda during the 1990s. and recent jihadist attacks there.

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– Contrast effect –

But not everyone has the same hopes for the army.

“Instead of embracing the violence, the effect of the Congolese and Ugandan military operations was to expand the range of ADF activities that now extend from the Ugandan border west of national highway 4,” Miviri said.

Apart from their normal zone in the Beni PD region of Congo, the ADF is also insulting civilians in the Djugu and Irumu territories in Ituri.

A militia from CODECO, a politico-religious sect, has attacked people already displaced by the killings as well as humanitarian workers.

And rebels from the M23 movement, advanced in 2013, have regrouped to fight the North-Kivu army.

“It’s three months since the Ugandan and Congolese armed forces’ strikes against the ADF position were halted,” Beni resident Jules Masumbuko told AFP.

Armed groups used the lull to “reorganize themselves and take back the areas they lost, as there is a problem with numbers within the Congolese army,” Miviri said.

The Congolese PD army says more than 20,000 troops have been deployed to the eastern volatile zones.

The army is also accused of abusing their powers by silencing all dissent.

During the year, 13 pro-democracy activists and two singers in the Congolese PD are facing stiff punishment from military tribunals for resisting the siege, and at least one legislator has spent several days in detention .

Five members from North-Kivu and Ituri tabled a motion at the national assembly to end the state of siege.

To make clear their opposition to repeated extensions to the measure at the assembly, legislators from both provinces in the Congo PD boycott debates on such a renewal.

“Soldiers do not need to be kept in control of our provinces with this mixed result after a year,” said Beni MP Gregoire Kiro, accusing military leaders of prioritizing tax collection over security issues.

Death toll soars under year of DR Congo’s ‘state of siege’ – The Citizen Source link Death toll soars under year of DR Congo’s ‘state of siege’ – The Citizen

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