Number of armed groups fell from more than 3,000 to 120 in eastern DRC, MONUSCO says

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Kinshasa, April 21nd, 2021 (CPA).– The number of armed groups fell from more than 3,000 in 2019 to 120 main groups in eastern DRC, certainly following the engagement of DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) supported by the rapid intervention force (FBI) of MONUSCO which has just incorporated Nepalese troops, the acting commander of the UN force in DRC, Major General Thierry Lion, told reporters on Wednesday.

Speaking at the United Nations press conference from Goma, capital of Nord Kivu, General Lion (France) returned to the people’s criticism of MONUSCO, stressing that the Security Council has set two priorities for MONUSCO: protection of civilians and support for the stabilization of institutions in DRC.

More or less 120 armed groups are created and disappeared every day in the East and elsewhere, for nearly 20 million people, according to a vicious circle, while the UN Force is made up of only 12,000 men.

« Globally, these groups which need money, food and ammunition work with certain political actors, pullers of strings for political ends », he noted.

The real work, reaffirmed General Thierry Lion, is at the level of the sovereign authority in the provinces to drive out these groups which often take the place of the East, where it does not exist.

After the attacks in Beni in 2019, studies were made with regard to the threat of ADF.

The reforms aim to professionalize elements of FARDC, whose primary responsibility is the political authorities to give national defense more means to protect the Congolese population and the country, in the face of an asymmetric war imposed on FARDC and the UN Force.

In the first quarter of this year, MONUSCO provided 47 tons of food to FARDC, 3,000 liters of fuel and helped wounded soldiers, permanent intelligence support by drones, « with all due respect to the slanderers ».

But the Force’s next actions will be based on communication work to explain MONUSCO’s role to the Congolese people. ACP/