DR Congo extends state of siege in restive provinces

15-day extension aims to restore state authority in Ituri and North Kivu provinces, says Justice Minister Rose Mutombo

DR Congo extends state of siege in restive provinces

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda

A state of siege declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern restive provinces was on Saturday extended for 15 more days, after President Felix Tshisekedi gave assent to promulgation of the relevant law approved by lawmakers.

The bill extending the state of siege was passed by both chambers of parliament this week.

"The ultimate objective of the state of siege is to restore state authority in the provinces of Ituri and North Kivu. Given the prevailing insecurity and changing strategies of the insurgents the operations of our defense and security forces must continue,” said Rose Mutombo, the justice minister.

“The government is more than determined and will spare no effort to end insecurity. This is why it provides the armed forces with substantial material and financial resources for the pacification of the east of our country,” the minister added.

President Tshisekedi had proclaimed a “state of siege” in the two provinces in May, replacing senior civilian officials in the state with army officers in a bid to curb growing insecurity.

Earlier the Defense and Security Committee of Parliament completed its assessment of the effectiveness of the state of siege. It will submit a report before the plenary for a debate.

The committee summoned several government officials to record their views on the state of siege.

The UN Human Rights Office in DR Congo in its recent biannual report said it has not seen a significant impact of the state of siege to protect civilians.

It noted that while neutralizations and surrenders of combatants of armed groups in North Kivu and Ituri have been witnessed, the attacks against civilians, in their homes and farms as well as on roads, have increased in the provinces under siege.

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