The Democratic Republic of Congo’s army has launched a major military operation to weed out armed groups in the eastern part of the country, a military spokesman said late Thursday.
Maj. Gen. Leon Kasonga said the operation was started on 29 October, and it targets to flush out various groups including Ugandan rebels of Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).
“The FARDC [Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo] have launched offensive operations to eradicate all armed groups. They are the ADF, all the Mai-Mai groups operating in the far north in Beni, Butembo, and Lubero, but also all armed groups in the eastern DRC; both in North Kivu and South Kivu,” U.N.’s Radio Okapi quotes Maj. Gen.Kasonga.
He added that the U.N. mission in the country was supporting the operation.
“MONUSCO is a privileged partner. Not only will it continue to protect Congolese communities and the Congolese population, but also at the request of the Congolese armed forces, MONUSCO will be able to provide support of various kinds,” he said.
Eastern DR Congo has been dogged by militia violence for over 20 years, sparked by ethnic and land disputes, as well as rivalries between neighboring armed groups.
ADF rebels entered the DR Congo from Uganda in the 1990s, and have launched numerous attacks in the country’s eastern region.
Human Rights Watch said in an August 2019 report that armed groups in the DR Congo’s eastern Kivu provinces had killed 1,900 civilians and abducted more than 3,300 others between June 2017 and June 2019.