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Central Africa

President Tshisekedi Makes Major Changes In Military

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President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has made changes in the high profile positions of the military appointing Major General Chiwewe Songe Christian as the Commander of the Republican Guard.

The changes effected on Wednesday have surprised many in neighbouring DRC as the President moves to assert his authority in this sensitive institution of Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo [FARDC]).

President Tshisekedi also promoted Kabi Kiriza Ephraime formerly a colonel to the rank of brigadier general and appointed him chief of staff of the Republican Guard.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Chico Tshitambwe Jérôme is in charge of operations and intelligence while Brigadier General Banza Milambwe is appointed deputy commander in charge of administration and logistics.

The new changes were made public by the spokesman of the head of state Kasongo Mwema Yamba Y’amba via the Congolese National and Radio Television, (RTNC).

The Congolese military has in the recent past been on the spotlight after General Delphin Kahimbi, the former FARDC Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of military intelligence committed suicide and summarily ended his life two months ago.

Before he committed suicide by hanging, Kahimbi was accused of concealing weapons and attempting to destabilise the country.

Ever since he took over after winning elections in January 2019, President Tshisekedi has been under pressure from international community to drop most of the high-ranking officers because they are targeted by international sanctions.

“Most of the generals under sanctions could soon be replaced, along with other high-ranking officers who pose less of a problem, so it doesn’t amount to a witch hunt,” said a diplomat posted in Kinshasa.

In February, International Monetary Fund (IMF) staffs visited DRC and have since held discussions for a new financing plan however; the United States government has asked President Tshisekedi to distance himself from his predecessor by pushing for fundamental reforms.

Peter Pham the US Special Envoy for the Great Lakes visited Kinshasa in February as a gesture to these demands.

This special envoy is said to have tabled particular names of generals on table and asked President Tshisekedi to take action

Insiders say the envoy singled out among others Gen. Delphin Kahimbi, Gabriel Amisi, alias Tango Four, Deputy Chief of Staff of the FARDC, and John Numbi, Inspector General of the FARDC, were also mentioned.

These changes come a day after President Tshisekedi on Tuesday met with senator-for-life Joseph Kabila.

The Congolese president is seeking balance with his coalition partner, Joseph Kabila, and several of the senior military officers concerned are very close to the latter.

However, President Tshisekedi has been blamed for taking too long to implement changes in the military and constantly reminded that he is the commander in chief.

Observers say even if he appoints someone who worked with his predecessor, this person knows that he owes his reappointment to President Tshisekedi.

“For the moment, it’s an attempt to regain control,” said Jean-Jacques Wondo, a specialist in the Congolese army. “And Joseph Kabila is also not in a capacity to defend the totality of the generals.”

DRC’s Presidential Guard and Intelligence Services

The elite presidential guard and the intelligence services are an important component of the Congolese security sector since the era of Mobutu Sese Seko.

Joseph Kabila over the years has built a formidable Republican Guard (Garde Républicaine), formerly known as the Special Presidential Security Group, that most estimates put at division-strength.

This feared institution is better trained, equipped, and paid than the FARDC, and its control runs outside the army chain and command.

It is also seen as more loyal to the government than the army is, thereby serving as buffer against coups or professionally minded officers withdrawing support from the regime.

The 12,000-strong Agence Nationale de Renseignements (ANR), the DRC’s national intelligence agency, plays a primary role in the regime’s calculus of survival.

In an effort to break with the practices of Mobutu’s secret police and his large and intrusive civilian and military intelligence apparatuses, the 2005 Constitution confined the ANR to the gathering, analysis, and dissemination of intelligence.

Intelligence agencies do not legally have the power to arrest, prosecute, or conduct politically directed investigations.

Former DRC Spy Chief Hanged Himself – New Findings

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Central Africa

Sudanese Army Chief Dismisses Six Ambassadors

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General Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, on Wednesday issued a decision sucking Sudanese ambassadors to six countries, the official Sudan TV reported.

The decision, announced late on Wednesday on state media, included Sudan’s ambassadors to the United States, the European Union, China, Qatar, France and the head of the country’s mission to the Swiss city of Geneva, apparently over their rejection of the military takeover, Aljazeera said..

On Monday, Al-Burhan declared a state of emergency across the country, dissolved the transitional Sovereign Council and the government, and relieved the state governors.

Demonstrators have taken to the street in Khartoum, rejecting the measures announced by Al-Burhan and demanding a civilian government. Since the announcement of foiling a coup attempt on Sept. 21, the differences between the military and the transitional government have continued to escalate.

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Central Africa

Congolese Army Clashes With CODECO / FPIC Rebels

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The Congolese army FARDC said on Monday it had launched attacks on bases of rebels and managed to liberate several localities in the region of Mwanga, Lipri and Ngongo.

According to details fetched from our source, these areas were considered the epicentre of the hostilities of the CODECO / FPIC rebel coalition in the Walendu-Datsi sector, in the territory of Djugu in the province of Ituri.

CODECO (Coopérative de développement économique du Congo) CODECO is a coalition of militia founded in the 1970s as a Lendu agricultural cooperative and operating in Ituri.

The group actively participated in the so-called Ituri War, which took place between 1999 and 2003.

At the end of the war, the group did not completely dissolve and stockpiled the weapons used during this conflict in a number of communities.

In 2018, CODECO started engaging in armed attacks again with the objective of defending the Lendu population against the Hema.

According to Army Spokesman Lieutenant Jules Ngongo said that for a week FARDC soldiers have been launching repeated assaults against the various positions of the militiamen.

During these battles on the fronts particularly in the North and South, the loyalist forces, under the command of the military Governor Luboya N’kashama, won a “shattering” victory, by now besieging the bastion of these rebels in the territory of Djugu. .

“81 elements of the armed groups were neutralized including a self-proclaimed rebel leader general and his S4 in the region of Mwanga, 62 other militiamen were also captured. 29 ADF surrendered to the army with 16 weapons, 26 other weapons recovered during the fighting on the North and South fronts. This is the record of the military operations carried out in Ituri during the 2nd phase during this period of the state of siege, ”he told local press.

According to the army, these military offensives against all the armed groups still active in the province of Ituri, aim in particular to “impose peace and restore the authority of the State.

“We must now know that peace will be there,” insisted Lieutenant General Luboya N’kashama, Military Governor of Ituri.

The FARDC soldiers have liberated areas including; Mwanga, Lipri, Ngongo and Lipri.

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Central Africa

Teachers’ Strike Paralyses Education In DRC

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Striking teachers in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo will be replaced with new ones, an order has been issued by the Acting Secretary General of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education (EPST).

The 2021-2022 school year started on Monday 04 October last throughout the country.

However, teachers in some parts of the country decided to begin the school year with a strike making various demands.

They ask the government to improve their salary conditions according to what was agreed when the free education started.

Students are bored in classrooms. No teacher shows up to give the teachings. In addition, some teachers deplore intimidation from the supervisory authorities.

Odon Mulanda Kipembe Acting Secretary General of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education (EPST), called on the teachers to cease the strike and return to classes to teach.

He has also instructed these educational provinces to establish the report of absence for teachers absent at the time of the control and, at the same time, to proceed to their deactivation from the payroll file as well as their replacement by the new units.

On Monday, a meeting is scheduled between the coordinators of the Catholic conventional schools and the Minister of Primary, Secondary and Technical Education (EPST), Tony Mwaba.

Salary increase

From this year, 20,000 Congolese francs (10 dollars) will be added to teachers’ salaries and an additional 10 dollars as a so-called “bush” bonus, exclusively for teachers working in rural areas.

These additions will bring the average teacher’s salary down to around U$ 185 per month. According to the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of the civil service, this is a gesture which proves the “good faith” of the government.

For their part, teachers are still waiting for the application of the second step of the gradual increase in salaries as agreed with the government two years ago. This will be one of the hot topics of the commission between the government and the labor organizations that will be set up.

The first salary increase in September 2019 had made it possible to increase at the time from 170,000 to 360,000 Congolese francs.

It should also be noted that the first stage of negotiations closed on Thursday in Kinshasa. Even if a lot remains to be done from the point of view of teachers who still plead for the improvement of their socio-professional conditions, there has been progress.

The government has pledged to include the phased retirement of teachers and administrative staff in next year’s budget. He also promised to pay the end-of-career indemnities of 1,342 teachers retired since 1984.

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