DRC President Orders Military, Police to Take over Besieged Northeastern Provinces
By Staff, Agencies
The civilian authorities in two northeastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC], where a state of siege was declared days ago to curb surging violence by armed groups, will be replaced by military administrations, said a presidential order issued late Monday.
"To address the situation during the state of siege, the civilian authorities of the provincial governments of Ituri and North Kivu and the decentralized entities of those provinces will be replaced by the officers of the armed forces of the DRC or the Congolese National Police," said the order announced by President Felix Tshisekedi's spokesman Tharsice Kasongo Mwema.
The state of siege will start on Thursday, and last for 30 days, he said.
Earlier on late Friday, Tshisekedi declared a state of siege in the two provinces.
According to government spokesman Patrick Muyaya, the president made this decision in concert with Prime Minister Lukonde Sama as well as the speakers of the Senate and National Assembly.
The decision is "to swiftly end the insecurity that is killing our citizens in that part of the country on a daily basis," Muyaya said.
According to a report published in March by the United Nations [UN] Refugee Agency, armed group the Allied Democratic Forces [ADF] has increased its attacks in Beni Territory of North Kivu and nearby villages of Ituri since the beginning of this year, leaving nearly 200 people dead, dozens of others injured, and around 40,000 displaced in the region.
Another report published in April by the UN Children's Fund said more than 1.6 million people, out of a total population of 5.7 million, are estimated to be displaced in Ituri.
Since April, residents of Beni and Butembo in North Kivu have been taking to the streets to oppose the ADF.