Congolese youth labels Kabila’s govt as criminal over secret M23 fighters enlisting

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A representative of the Friends of the Congo in the United Kingdom, Francine Mukwaya says President Laurent Kabila is leading a criminal government in Kinshasa.

Mukwaya, who is currently waging a relentless campaign against the Kabila-led government in the European diaspora, stated in a Facebook posting that she will never be silent for the love of Congo.

The social media post was alerting her followers to an interview she was going to have on Arise News TV on Thursday, to talk about the internal displacement situation within the DRC’s areas of Tanganyika, Kasai and Kivu, as well as the Human Rights Watch report on the “recruitment of M23 by the criminal government in Kinshasa”.

“We will continue to educate and fight for our beautiful country until the CONGO IS FREE,” Mukwaya declared. “For the love of the Congo, I will not be silent.”

Five days ago, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report indicating that in the lead-up to the anti-Kabila protests in December last year, senior Congolese security force officers had mobilised at least 200 and likely many more former M23 rebel fighters from refugee camps in neighbouring Uganda and Rwanda to protect President Kabila and help quash the anti-Kabila protests.

“Once in Congo, the M23 fighters were deployed to the capital, Kinshasa, and the eastern and southern cities of Goma and Lubumbashi. They were given new uniforms and weapons and integrated into the police, army, and units of the Republican Guard, the presidential security detail,” the report read in part. “Congolese security force officers – including many from previous Rwandan-backed rebellions who had since integrated into the Congolese army – looked after them, paying them well and providing them with food and accommodation. To protect the president and quash protests, the M23fighters were given explicit orders to use lethal force, including at ‘point-blank range’ if necessary.”

One M23 fighter told Human Rights Watch: “Many M23 were deployed to wage a war against those who wanted to threaten Kabila’s hold on power.”

Another M23 fighter disclosed to HRW: “We received orders to shoot immediately at the slightest provocation by civilians.”

The HRW indicated that while many of the covertly-recruited M23 fighters were sent back to Uganda and Rwanda in late December 2016 and early January this year but that the Congolese forces against covertly recruited fighters from the same group between May and July 2017.

These fresh recruits were deployed to Kisangani in north-eastern DRC where they were awaiting training, allegedly to prepare them for future “special operations” to respond to any threats to Kabila’s hold on power.

“With more protests planned in the coming weeks – nearly one year past the end of Kabila’s constitutional mandate – the findings in this report raise concerns about further violence and repression,” the report that places the death toll of anti-Kabila protestors killed by Congolese security forces between December 19 and 22, 2016 at about 62 read further.

Friends of the Congo is a movement of young DRC nationals that is striving to raise consciousness about the challenges in that country and supporting Congolese institutions as they strive to bring about peaceful and lasting change.

 

 

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