Dozens of armed groups have operated for years in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) North Kivu and Ituri provinces, and civilians have been subjected to horrifying massacres. Armed militias and inter-communal violence have killed more than 300 people so far in 2021. Presidential spokesman Tharsice Kasongo Mwema said on Tuesday that the two provinces would be declared under siege for 30 days starting on Thursday May 6. “To respond to the situation during the state of siege, the provincial governments of Ituri and North Kivu … will be replaced by offices of the armed forces of the DRC or the national police,” he said. Security and judicial vacuum It was the first time since the Democratic Republic of Congo’s independence that a president used the exceptional “state of siege” or state of emergency. President Felix Tshisekedi said he wanted to eliminate insecurity in the two provinces, where the Congolese government has failed to enforce the rule of law. “There is a security vacuum, a judicial vacuum, and economies that are out of the central state’s control,” said Pierre Boisselet from Kivu Security Tracker, an organization dedicated to mapping out conflict in the DRC. “So some armed groups take advantage of this vacuum.” Individual… Read full this story
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