World DR Congo's Tshisekedi vows 'radical measures' against eastern militias
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Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi vowed Thursday to implement "radical measures" against armed groups in the country's east that have killed thousands of civilians and set tens of thousands more to flight.
"I am simply drawing up effective solutions that will allow us to reduce this crisis in the east once and for all," Tshisekedi said at a press conference in Kinshasa with visiting European Council chief Charles Michel.
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Although he did not go into further detail, the president's comments follow his newly-installed prime minister's trailing of a possible "state of security emergency" for the violence-wracked region.
"No option will be excluded," Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde told the National Assembly on Monday.
Measures could notably include "the replacement of the civilian administration by military administration in such areas," the premier said.
An estimated 122 armed groups roam the eastern border provinces of the vast Democratic Republic of Congo, many of them a legacy of regional wars in the 1990s.
The bloodiest of them is the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a historically Ugandan Islamist group that has carried out a string of massacres in the last 18 months.
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President Joe Biden's "radical" idea is that government is not the problem in America but the multi-trillion-dollar solution that can end the pandemic, equalize the economy and make life better for millions of working people. © Evan Vucci/AP President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19, on the North Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, April 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) As he marks his first 100 days in office on Wednesday night with an address to a joint session of Congress, Biden will seize what may be a once-in-a-generation chance amid a deep crisis to change the trajectory of the country.
According to the Kivu Security Tracker, an NGO that monitors violence in the DRC's troubled east, the group has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017.
On March 19, the UN said a surge of ADF attacks since the start of the year had claimed nearly 200 lives and forced 40,000 people to flee their homes.
Criticised for failing to stem the bloodshed, the UN's MONUSCO peacekeeping mission said that it would be reinforced in eastern DRC by a Kenyan army unit.
Tshisekedi urged school students in the eastern city of Beni to return home after they camped for days outside the town hall in protest against the UN's perceived inaction and demanding the president visit the region.
"Don't allow yourselves to be manipulated by adults who are pursuing political ends," Tshisekedi said, adding that "MONUSCO is not responsible for the violence."
Tshisekedi on Tuesday asked France for help with "eradicating" the ADF, which he said exhibits "Islamist tendencies, Islamist speech and Islamist methods."
DRC: Félix Tshisekedi responds to the children of Blessed and promises them a trip
© AFP - Ludovic Marin Félix Tshisekedi (here in Visio at the One Planet Summit, on January 11, 2021), President of the DRC. In the DRC, it has been six days since the students spend the night in the courtyard of Blessed town hall to claim the return to order and security. Ecolers demand more security in the region and especially the departure of the Monusco, the UN mission, which they judge ineffective.
The United States in March declared the ADF to be linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group.
- Mukwege call -
Also Thursday, 2018 Nobel Peace laureate Denis Mukwege and dozens of aid groups urged Tshisekedi to end "impunity" for perpetrators of human rights violations in eastern DRC, including "agents of the security forces and other officials".
They called for an international "judicial mechanism" to prosecute those behind "serious international crimes" committed in the DRC.
Top on their list were those documented in a 2010 UN report on human rights violations from wars in 1993-2003.
It details more than 600 instances of massacres, sexual violence, attacks against children and other crimes.
"The violence still raging in eastern DR Congo today recalls in a tragic way that too little has been done to bring the perpetrators of human rights violations to justice," said Micheline Mwendike, an activist from the Lucha civil society movement based in the region.
the military replacing the civilian authorities in two provinces of R & D Congo .
© Alain Wandimoy, AFP a Congolese soldier patrol in 2014. (Archive) during the state of office which will enter into force Thursday in the provinces of the Ituri and North Kivu, local civilian authorities will be replaced by officers of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo or the National Police. The civil authorities will be replaced by military and police in two provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the headquarters comes into force on Thursday.