DR Congo President Condemns Complicity Between Army Officers And CODECO Rebels

The DR Congo President has said he wonders if the army is not capable of fighting the CODECO rebels or if there are some among them supporting the rebels.

President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo has condemned “complicity between army officers and the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO) armed group responsible for the recent massacres in Ituri”.

President  Tshisekedi was addressing about 10 military officers and police during the opening of a seminar on “Military Ethics and Deontology” within the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) on Thursday, May 12, just five days after the massacre of at least 50 civilians in Djugu territory of Ituri province.

“Either our army is incapable or these CODECO bandits, a conglomerate of criminals, benefit from complicity within our armed forces. This is not acceptable,” the  President said, adding that “we must search for those responsible for these wrong-doings”.

At the moment, eight DR Congo military officers are facing trial in Bunia in Ituri province for having given ammunition to the CODECO armed group which they are supposed to be combating.

“This is the first time in our history that we have spent so much on our army, but I am disappointed to see that despite all the efforts, the security results are not commensurate with the finances made available,” President Tshisekedi said.

The president did not reveal the sums of money put at the disposal of the army within the context of the state of siege in Ituri and North Kivu where military officers have full powers to combat armed groups for more than one year now without succeeding in putting an end to massacres of the civilian populations.

Last Tuesday, May 10, 2022, 14 displaced persons including nine children were killed in an attack attributed to CODECO and during the night of last Saturday, these same militia killed 35 civilians in an artisanal mining site.

“I am fed up that hardly a day passes without us counting victims. We cannot continue to count the dead in this way,” President Tshisekedi told the army officers.

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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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