Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to South Africa kicks off a year rich in cooperation between Pretoria and Moscow, much to ... the chagrin of those who have wanted to isolate Russia ever since it invaded Ukraine.
According to our sources, Félix Tshisekedi chaired a meeting with the entire chain of command of the military of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) for the first time on 9 July. The leaders of each defence zone were also convened.
What is behind all the commotion?
According to several security sources in Kinshasa, the Congolese head of state is preparing a counterattack to a “serious rebellion brewing in the highlands and midlands of the Fizi and Mwenga territories in South Kivu province, and that is backed by a foreign power”.
The situation is being taken seriously at the highest levels of the state. It has, for example, driven Tshisekedi to postpone a private trip to Brussels, initially scheduled for 3 July, by a day. “He took advantage of this day to sort out how the crisis will be handled during his absence,” said a person close to the president.
Foreign military incursions
On 3 July, during a cabinet meeting, Tshisekedi let members of government know that he had been informed of “attempts of rebellion in eastern DRC”, without providing any additional details.
For several weeks now, his country has regularly fallen victim to foreign military incursions. In particular, Zambia, South Sudan and Angola have been blamed by the government for their involvement.
Civil society, for its part, has on several occasions condemned incursions committed by the Rwandan army in North and South Kivu, allegations that Paul Kagame has systematically denied.
In a mid-term report published in December 2019, the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo stated that Burundi’s army was present in South Kivu, where Burundian rebel groups operate.
The most recent armed group to have mobilised the entire Congolese politico-security apparatus was M23. Some of its ex-fighters are still awaiting, while confined to Rwanda and Uganda, the implementation of a roadmap signed in October 2019 in Kigali that provides for their reintegration into the military and civil society.
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