As a matter of fact. Foreign soldiers in operation in eastern DRC?

A 5-page document published in mid-October on Twitter, relayed in particular by an analyst of military issues caused a stir on Congolese social networks. The signed text of the chief of staff of the Congolese army seems to organize a joint operation of five countries: Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The operation aims to eliminate rebel groups in eastern Congo-Kinshasa.

Could Rwandan or Burundian soldiers intervene in Congolese territory?

The announcement immediately aroused concern because it brings back painful memories, those of crimes committed between 1993 and 2003 by foreign armies, including Rwandan.

The Congolese army does not confirm the truth of the document. It would be authentic, however, according to specialist Jason Stearns, director of the Study Group on Congo: “We know that it is an authentic document but probably not a final document. For me, it was reflections still in progress but something is running.

The army has in any case recognized that an operation bringing together five countries is well under preparation and that two meetings of chiefs of staffs have already taken place; the last in Goma on October 24th.

The document revealed on Twitter speaks, for each country involved, of the use of “special forces”. A mention that has been interpreted on social networks as permission given to soldiers from Rwanda, Uganda or Burundi to intervene on Congolese soil.

A misinterpretation assure the military authorities of the DRC.

General Léon Richard Kasonga, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the DRC assures: “We have our human, professional and logistical capacities and we have the competence to carry out our operations alone, by ourselves, at home. We decided to pool our information and information to conduct our operations and simultaneously, the foreign armies move on their territory at the same time as we conduct our operations with us.

It is unclear whether the Congolese government has ever considered allowing these foreign special forces to enter, as he claims. Or if he simply backtracked the controversy.

The publication on Twitter was very commented and shared in Congo. And for good reason !

Jason Stearns recalls himself witnessing crimes committed under the Rwandan occupation: “I lived in the east for a long time. I testified about abuses of which the Rwandan army was guilty. There is a very strong emotion within the Congolese population against Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi. There is a sense of humiliation of the Congolese people. People will say to themselves but why the Congolese army can not do it? Why should we invite the same countries that in the past have abused us?

In a report, the UN counted 617 serious crimes and tens of thousands of deaths during the 2 Congo wars and years of occupation that followed.

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