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State Of Siege In Ituri, North Kivu, Yielding Positive Outcomes – DR Congo Government

Although the government has insisted that the state of siege in Ituri and North Kivu have been successful, residents think otherwise.

The Democratic Republic of Congo government says the declaration of a state of siege made over a month ago in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu in the country is already yielding positive results. 

This assertion is based on the fact that hundreds of rebels have quit the marquis in North Kivu and are being prepared for insertion into activities of normal life.

Addressing the press in the capital Kinshasa on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Patrick Muyaya, the government spokesperson said “we are optimistic as to the achievement of the objectives we are after.”

“As of this day, we have recorded some surrenders by militiamen. During our visit to North Kivu, the Prime Minister received a group of these militiamen who came to tell PM Sama Lukonde that they had laid down their arms.”

“Immediately afterwards a reinsertion mechanism is being put in place while waiting for a formal presidential decision of the Disarmament, Demobilisation, Réinsertion Communautaire et Stabilisation (DDRCS) programme, which would set out transitory measures that would permit their return into society. These measures are being worked out to take care of their health, lodging and other needs,” he added.

However, this picture painted by the government spokesperson does not seem to tally with that of citizens and some militia who may be wanting to lay down their arms.

“The wait for the effective implementation of the DDRCS measures is proving to be so long and all we hear every day is talk from government officials. If they were to start the full implementation of the DDRCS programme today, thousands of militiamen would start quitting the bushes tomorrow,” one militiaman who did not give his name told HumAngle in Kinshasa.

On the other hand, there has been an increase in violence in the two provinces.

Parliamentarians from Beni and Lubero say since the declaration of the state of siege on May 6, 2021, 157 civilians have been killed in North Kivu province alone.

In Ituri province, civil society sources reveal that over 100 civilians have been killed since May 6, in the Irumu and Djugu territories.

“We are faced with an asymmetric war where the targets are no longer on the known front but they are hiding inside the populations in order to create terror and desolation,” the Minister of Communication and Media declared.

“I take this opportunity to appeal for the patriotism of our compatriots living in the concerned regions to support and work side by side the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo to unmask all these erring negative forces.”

The state of siege that was declared by President, Felix Tshisekedi, was supposed to last for 30 days but it has since been prolonged by 15 days.

The military and police authorities appointed at the head of the towns, councils, and territories remain in place and the head of state told senators last week that he did not know “when we shall be sure that we should lift the state of siege.”

Meanwhile, residents and civil society activists are calling for more drastic military action against what they term “negative forces” in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu where violence persists.

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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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