DR Congo Declares ‘State Of Siege’ Over Worsening Violence

The Democratic Republic of Congo has announced a "state of siege" late Friday in two provinces in the east of the country which have been sacked by violence from armed groups and civilian massacres.

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The Democratic Republic of Congo has announced a “state of siege” late Friday in two provinces in the east of the country which have been sacked by violence from armed groups and civilian massacres.

Under DRC’s constitution, the president can declare either a state of emergency or a state of siege “if severe circumstances immediately threaten the independence or integrity of the national territory.

On Thursday, President Felix Tshisekedi said he was preparing “radical measures” to deal with the security situation in the east of the country.

That followed the prime minister suggesting on Monday that a state of emergency might be declared in the east, “replacing the civil administration with a military administration”.

In Paris on Tuesday, Tshisekedi asked France for help “eradicating” one of them, the Allied Democratic Forces, from the Beni region in North Kivu.

Branded a jihadist organisation by Tshisekedi and the United States, the ADF has killed more than 1,200 civilians in the Beni area alone since 2017, according to a monitor called the Kivu Security Tracker (KST).

The army has conducted operations against them in the region since October 2019, but has not been able to put a stop to the massacres of civilians.

An estimated 122 armed groups of varying sizes operate in mineral-rich eastern DRC, many a legacy of regional wars in the 1990s.

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