The United Nations envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region, Said Djinnit has encouraged countries in the region, and the UN Security Council, to help strengthen the fight against illegal armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and its neighbours, particularly because elements of the former M23 rebel group have resurfaced in the region.
“The persistent activities of the illegal armed groups remain one of the main threats to the security of the populations and to the stability of the DRC and the region. We should continue to beef up efforts aimed at neutralizing the illegal armed groups, including the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR),” Djinnit said.
Congo has seen a rise in violence in the country’s restive Kasai region, where a worsening insurgency poses the most serious threat to President Joseph Kabila’s 16-year rule.
The persistent activities of the illegal armed groups remain one of the main threats to the security of the populations and to the stability of the DRC and the region.
Kabila’s failure to step down when his two-term mandate expired in December has further destabilized the loosely governed central African giant. Millions died in regional wars from 1996-2003 and dozens of armed groups still operate.
Last Friday, Kabila named Bruno Tshibala, a former member of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the largest opposition party, as the new prime minister.
Congolese ambassador to the United Nations, Ignace Gat Mavita defended the president’s pick for prime minister saying that he was picked following consultations with the political opposition and the presidential majority.
“My delegation is of the view that the Council should refrain from becoming involved in the conflict within the coalition. This is a conflict that the Council does not fully understand its context. If you speak in favour of one wing of the coalition, as was done by some of you, then you risk reigniting this conflict,” he said.
Earlier this week, Congo opposition call for mass protests against president’s refusal to step down fell flat, after only a handful of people show up.
The sparse turnout in the capital Kinshasa and other major cities pointed to the opposition’s waning credibility and persistent difficulties convincing Congolese to risk frequently deadly crackdowns by security services.