UN concerned rebels in eastern Dem Rep. of Congo getting arms from army

World body slapped arms embargo in eastern DRC in 2002 but rebels still reportedly acquiring firearms

Godfrey Olukya   | 22.09.2021
UN concerned rebels in eastern Dem Rep. of Congo getting arms from army

KAMPALA, Uganda 

UN radio in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) said Wednesday that the world body is concerned that after 13 years of an arms embargo in the east, rebels and militiamen still acquire arms.

It said that according to a UN report, the DRC has been under an arms embargo regime since 2003 and under normal circumstances arms should no longer circulate on Congolese soil.

“Eighteen years later, armed groups continue to procure weapons, and sometimes in complicity with the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC) and certain neighboring countries,” it said.

The UN Security Council adopted an arms embargo in the DRC on July 28, 2003, when the country faced armed tensions.

Local and foreign militias and armed groups operating in the east were the main targets of the resolution.

The report said the Security Council is concerned that authorities failed to take necessary measures to prevent direct or indirect supplies, sales, arms transfers and any related material to Congolese and foreign militias and armed groups.

"While arms continue to circulate in the DRC, the Armed Forces of the DRC are indexed and are complicit, directly or indirectly. In the first case, the army supports certain armed negative forces to fight against other negative forces. In the second case, the military officers desert and abandon their weapons, in favor of the armed groups,” said the report.

The UN said the Congolese army is involved in the trafficking of arms and ammunition to fuel armed conflicts in the east. And UN experts confirmed the seizure of 83 boxes of ammunition and a bag containing various ammunition for automatic weapons, PKMs and AK-type assault rifles.

The weapons were trafficked between the DRC Armed Forces and eco-guards from the Congolese Institute for the Conservation of Nature (ICCN) in Garamba Park.

Eleven people, including senior army officers, were arrested and tried before military justice.

In addition, the UN concluded that certain armed groups play a proxy role for the FARDC in various combat zones. Consequently, they benefit from a supply of arms directly from certain FARDC officers.

A security officer in South Kivu, Lieut. Peter Sangara, said authorities are going to investigate the allegations.

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