Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo: The President’s Elusive Peace Effort

Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo: The President’s Elusive Peace Effort

Félix Tshisekedi became president of the Democratic Republic of Congo in January 2019, promising to pacify the east, the scene of decades of militia violence.

Nearly five years later, peace in the turbulent region remains elusive, with the security crisis a key issue in the Dec. 20 poll when Tshisekedi seeks re-election.

Below are the main statements and decisions made regarding the crisis during the president's first term.

– January 2019: Inaugural speech –
In his inaugural address, Tshisekedi promised that “pacification throughout the country” would be his top priority.

– October 2019: Military Operations –
During his visit to the east, Tshisekedi declared that he was “ready to die to make this peace a reality.”

The military has launched an operation to annihilate the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), which Islamic State claims is an affiliate in Central Africa. ADF intensifies attacks on civilians.

– May 2021: “Siege” –
The president declared a so-called state of siege in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, effective May 6.

The measure replaces civilian administrators with police and military personnel.

– November 2021: Operation Uganda, M23 –
Uganda launched a joint military operation with the DRC against the ADF, first in northern North Kivu province and then expanding into Ituri province.

The Rwandan-backed M23 rebel group, which has been dormant for about a decade, has launched an offensive in southern North Kivu.

– Late 2022: Private Military Contractors –
The Congolese government contracted with two private military companies, Agemira RDC and Congo Protection, to stop M23's advance.

Together, the two companies employ approximately 1,000 men. Most of the troops are from Eastern Europe and the managers are French.

– Late 2022: East African Army –
Troops as part of the East African Community (EAC) regional force begin deployment to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to bring peace to the region.

– May 10, 2023: Criticism of regional forces –
During his visit to Botswana, Tshisekedi criticized EAC forces for “coexisting” with rebel groups.

A day earlier, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) announced it would deploy troops to eastern DRC. This expansion has not yet taken place.

– September 21, 2023: Criticism of the United Nations –
Tshisekedi told the United Nations General Assembly that UN peacekeeping forces deployed to his country since 1999 “have not been successful in dealing with the insurgency.”

The president has called for an “accelerated withdrawal” of peacekeeping forces starting in December. Approximately 14,000 United Nations troops are stationed in the DRC.

– Late September 2023: Auxiliary equipment –
The president and several government officials have acknowledged for the first time that armed groups and “volunteers for the defense of the homeland” are acting as auxiliaries to the military in the fight against M23.

– October 13th: Reverse course –
Prime Minister Tshisekedi announced that the state of siege in North Kivu and Ituri would be “gradually and progressively eased”.

– December 3: Withdrawal from East Africa –
Kenyan troops deployed as part of the EAC force have begun withdrawing from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after the government failed to renew their mission.

Source: guardian.ng

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *