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DRC: 5 years after the political changeover, no peace in the east

DRC: 5 years after the political changeover, no peace in the east
DRC defence forces gather in the village of Mukondi, in the province of North Kivu, on 9 March 2023.   -  
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Socrate Mumbere/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

In 2019, Félix Tshisekedi succeeded Joseph Kabila as President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and pledged to do everything possible to bring peace to the east of the country, scarred by 25 years of conflict. Five years on, peace is still elusive.

Here are the main statements and decisions made by President Tshisekedi, who is standing for re-election on 20 December, on this security crisis.

January 2019

In his inaugural speech, he gives priority to "the pacification of the entire national territory".

October 2019

On a visit to the east of the country, he declares: "Believe me, I am prepared to die to make this peace a reality". A so-called "large-scale" military operation is launched to eradicate the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces), who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group. In response, the armed group intensifies its massacres of civilians.

May 2021

He proclaims a "state of siege" for the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, which comes into effect on 6 May and replaces the civilian administration with military and police officials.

November 2021

With his agreement, Uganda launches a military operation against the ADF in the northern part of North Kivu, later extended to Ituri. The M23 rebellion, which has been dormant for ten years and is supported by Rwanda, resumes its offensive in southern North Kivu.

End of 2022

Two private military companies, Agemira RDC and Congo Protection, have been contracted by the Congolese government to help fight the M23 advance. They employ a total of more than a thousand men, mainly from Eastern Europe for the troops and from France for the managers.

10 May 2023During a visit to Botswana, he criticises the East African Community force (EAC-RF), which has been deployed in the east of the DRC for several months with his agreement to fight armed groups, criticising it for "cohabiting" with the rebels.The day before, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) announced the deployment of forces in eastern Congo, but this has not yet taken place.

21 September 2023

At the UN, he deplores the fact that the UN force deployed in the DRC since 1999 has "not succeeded in dealing with rebellions and armed conflicts" and insists on its "accelerated withdrawal" from December.

End of September

The President and several members of the government acknowledge that armed groups and "volunteers for the defence of the homeland" are being used as auxiliaries to the armed forces to counter the expansion of the M23.

13th October

He announces a "gradual and progressive easing" of the state of siege.

3rd December

The Kenyan troops of the East African Community's regional force begin their withdrawal from the DRC after Kinshasa fails to renew their mandate.

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