NewsUS special forces in east DR Congo to fight...

US special forces in east DR Congo to fight militia: sources


Goma, DR Congo: US special operations forces have arrived in the east of DR Congo to help in the fight against a feared jihadist militia enjoying “sanctuary” in the region’s nature parks, the US and Congolese sources said Wednesday.

The office of President Felix Tshisekedi said Sunday that Kinshasa had authorized the deployment in support of the Congolese army against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.

The size of the contingent was unknown but around a dozen, soldiers could be seen in official photos of a meeting Sunday between Tshisekedi and a delegation led by US Ambassador to Kinshasa Mike Hammer.

Congolese and US sources confirmed to an AFP correspondent in the region the presence of some of the soldiers at a base in the Virunga natural park known for its endangered mountain gorillas.

The presidency said at the weekend that the contingent would also support rangers in Garamba, which like Virunga has “become a sanctuary for terrorist forces”.

The mission is set to last “several weeks” and will target the ADF, which the statement described as a “branch of Daech” — or the Islamic State group (IS).

It said the force was part of a “global coalition” against IS.

Meanwhile, the Congolese army said Wednesday that it had seized back “the last bastions” of a rebel coalition in the Hauts Plateaux region, in the east of the country, after a week of fighting.

The operation was launched Thursday after an attack by fighters of the Makanika Twigwaneho Ngumino/FNL coalition of armed groups who tried to seize a military position, he added.

The Hauts Plateaux region is the scene of a conflict between armed groups formed on a communal basis, notably Tutsi Congolese with distant Rwandan origins, the Banyamulenge, and other communities.

The coalition “Twigwaneho” (self-defense) and “Ngumino” (We Stay Here in Kinyamulenge) is composed of members of the Banyamulenge community.

These armed groups were joined by Colonel Michel Rukundo Makanika who deserted the army in early 2020 with a group of soldiers.

The ADF emerged as a rebel movement in neighboring Uganda in 1996 but has been active in the eastern DR Congo for nearly 30 years, accused of killing thousands of civilians.

Since April 2019, IS has claimed responsibility for some of its attacks, and in March this year, Washington placed the ADF on a list of “terrorist organizations” affiliated with IS.

In a statement last week, the US embassy in the DRC said the special ops team would also help rangers in the Virunga and Garumba parks to “combat trafficking in wild species and other illegal activities”.

AFP is a leading global news agency for comprehensive, verified coverage of events shaping the world.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

Swiss unanimously votes for same-sex union referendum

GENEVA — In Switzerland, a controversial same-sex marriage referendum has been resoundingly approved by voters of the conservative, rich Alpine...

New Covid surge overwhelms hospitals in parts of US

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to one of the country's top health officials, the spike in coronavirus cases in the...

China wants effeminate male celebs to man up

WASHINGTON — Macho men are in and effeminate male performers are out as Beijing expands its crackdown on China's entertainment...

Billie Eilish, BTS to perform at climate change concert

Billie Eilish, BTS, and Elton John, among others, will donate their star power to Global Citizen Live on Saturday...

Google faces off EU in court over record $5.1 billion antitrust fine

This week, Google will face the European Commission in a five-day court hearing, appealing a record $5.1 billion fine...

WHO’s Covax misses 2021 target. What went wrong?

The latest supply forecast for Covax – the programme for sharing COVID-19 vaccines around the world – suggests that accelerating vaccination...

Must read

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you