DR Congo Army Claims ‘State Of Siege’ Restored Security In Beni After 1 Year

One year after the government of the Democratic Republic Congo imposed the state of siege in restive Ituri and North Kivu provinces, military authorities said they have restored peace in some parts of the troubled areas.

The Democratic Republic of Congo army, FARDC, says the state of siege imposed in Ituri and North Kivu provinces of the country has helped to restore security in the Beni region where the army has been combatting the Allied Democratic Force (ADF).

Gen. Sylvain Ekenge, spokesperson of the governor of North Kivu, who was speaking Friday, May 6, 2022 on the first anniversary of the declaration of a state of siege in Ituri and North Kivu on May 6, 2021, said there has been a big evolution concerning security, principally in the region of Beni.

There have been public outcries about the state of siege in the restive provinces of Ituri and North Kivu in the eastern DR Congo but the Gen. maintained that the extreme measure has made it possible for people to “sleep without problems and the territory of Beni is practically secure”.

“On the ground, there have been many advances that have been registered. Today, people sleep without problems. There are no gunshots. I myself have just spent several days in the region of Beni,” he told the audience at the celebration.

“There is calm. In the north, many combatants, in fact, more than 2,000, have surrendered. Also in the Grand North, we have neutralised several ADF rebels, captured others including foreigners, not to talk of arms recovered.”

While stressing that the Beni territory is practically secure, Gen. Ekenge admitted  there are still some pockets of resistance by rebels in Ruwenzori and Bashu. 

He disclosed the national army in collaboration with the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) have been seriously working to finish the job.

Gen. Ekenge also spoke of the positive evolution in the domain of development since the state of siege was put in place.

“There are roads that have been reopened to facilitate communication between entities which were long isolated following rebel attacks. That follows the taking over of entities by the army and state of siege authorities.”

He, however, indicated that the authorities installed within the context of the state of siege are ready to give way to civilians if the president of the republic declares the lifting of the exceptional measure.

“The governor and all his team have not asked for employment in order to become what they are today. The day the president lifts the measure (state of siege), we are going to park our valleys to go assume our former responsibilities. A soldier does not search for a job, he is assigned one,” Gen. Ekenge declared.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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