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Congolese Question Presence of Kenyan Troops in Kisangani

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Dozens of Kenyan Defence Force troops are currently camped in a DRC city of Kinsangani far away from the theatre of war.

Congolese civil society organisations and other government critics have questioned the rationale of Kenyan troops presence in Kinsangani.

However, according to a statement by civil society organizations and citizen movements gathered in Kisangani, the Kenyan troops are in the area to allegedly strengthen the capacities of PNC elements.

Other sources quoted by local media claimed the Kenyan troops are in Kisangani to “rehabilitate the Bauma and Lukusa camps before training the Congolese military officers”.

A statement from civil society organizations and citizen movements added that despite these assertions, the real reason for the deployment of Kenyan troops in Kisangani remains unclear.

What is the real reason for the Kenyan military deployment in Kisangani, nearly a thousand km from the theater of military operations? What is the document or agreement that authorizes the elements of the EAC to ensure capacity building of the elements of the PNC and FARDC in Kisangani?

How long will this training take? Who are the elements of the PNC and FARDC selected for this training and on what criteria? Is the Congolese parliament informed about this training? These are questions that these movements are asking themselves.

For them, “Kenya is not welcome in Kisangani which is too far from the areas of the M23 and other armed groups”.

They also noted “The FARDC do not need Kenyan military genius in the midst of war, far from the front. If the Kenyan military engineers want to help the FARDC, let them do so at the war front instead of coming hundreds of kilometers from the front lines. It is the same for the Kenyan instructors for our officers. It is a lack of respect, even a humiliation for our officers to be trained by Kenya while the FARDC have officers trained in the best military academies in the world”.

In the same vein, these citizen structures “vehemently” denounce the method of the government which, according to them, brings foreign soldiers back to Congolese soil without informing either the parliament or its compatriots.

“Let us ask the central government, the parliament, the Provincial Assembly and the Provincial Government of Tshopo to inform the population of Kisangani as soon as possible of the reason for the presence in Kisangani of these armed elements. It is up to the President of the Republic to revisit his agreements with the eastern neighboring countries threatening the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the DRC”, insists this synergy of citizen movements which warn that:

“If no reaction is reported in this direction, we will not hesitate and, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution, to mobilize the entire population until the total withdrawal of Kenyans from Tshopo. Safeguarding territorial integrity is a civic duty of all citizens without any discrimination.

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