DR Congo Gov’t Plans Roundtable On Future Of Military Occupation In Troubled Regions

The state of siege in Ituri and North Kivu has been extended 23 times and the latest extension by 15 days takes effect from May 5, 2022. Protests from citizens on its continued extension is prompting gov’t to seek dialogue.

President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo has decided to hold a roundtable conference to decide on the future of the state of siege in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu.

The conference will involve elected representatives of the two restive provinces and the army.

HumAngle learnt that the decision to hold the roundtable was taken on  Wednesday, May 4, 2022 after Prime Minister, Michel Sama Lukonde, presented a report on the situation in the two provinces as well as a memorandum from the presidents of caucuses of provincial elected officials.

The decision also comes on the heels of the adoption by the National Assembly of a bill on the 23rd extension of the state of siege by 15 days effective from today May 5, 2022.

“I pray you to be patient, to have confidence in the head of state, our government and ourselves as solutions are on their way. But while waiting, let us not create a vacuum, so let us proceed with the extension of the state of siege and within the following hours, solutions would come and new decisions would be put in application,”  Christophe Mboso, the President of the National Assembly had said  during the last plenary session of the House on Tuesday, May 3, 2022.

The roundtable called for by President Tshisekedi has been occasioned by the fact that a majority of Congolese feel the state of siege, which is an extreme measure taken to curb violence in the two provinces of Ituri and North Kivu, has not yielded the envisaged results.

Many feel the measure has rather led to accusations of human rights abuses by the security forces which have been executing the state of siege.

In its 2021 annual report, the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) in the DR Congo had noted that the “overpopulation of prisons is aggravating under the state of siege, which poses risks in the fields of security and health” due to the “lack of personnel in the military tribunals, while the number of detainees awaiting trial is very high”.

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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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