Burundian troops entered the Democratic Republic of Congo territory in South Kivu on Monday, Aug. 15. The arrival is premised on joint military support by the East African Community’s (EAC) Heads of State member countries.
The Congolese national army, FARDC, through the Sokola 2 operational sector in South Kivu, has confirmed the arrival of the Burundian forces and clarified that “this task force is under its command”.
Lt. Marc Elonga, the spokesperson of Operation Sokola 2 South Kivu, said, “This Burundian contingent is housed in the Luberizi training centre and came within the context of the joint forces advocated by the heads of state of member countries of the East African Community (EAC).”
The Burundian forces thus joined units of the Ugandan army tracking Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in Ituri and South Kivu provinces.
The Burundian contingent arrived “with uniforms, arms, ammunition and all its distinctive signs,” revealed Lt. Elonga, who added that their “mission is to track down foreign and local armed groups to finally restore the peace promised by the Supreme Commander of the Democratic Republic of Congo armed forces”.
This official entry of the Burundian defence forces into DR Congo comes at a time when the civil society had launched several alerts on the clandestine entry of Burundian soldiers into the country during the past several months, precisely in the upper plateau of Uvira, Fizi, and Mwenga.
Several local and foreign militias have been accusing each other and clashing regularly in the upper plateau, thus leading to the massive displacement of locals and an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in the region.
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