News 4 may — 18:55

DR Congo declares state of siege over conflict in east

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A state of siege proclaimed in the Ituri and North Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will come into effect on Thursday for a 30-day period, President Felix Tshisekedi has announced.

In an address to the nation late Monday, Tshisekedi called on the population to adopt a responsible attitude and the government to ensure the necessary logistics for the armed forces which will be deployed during the siege period.

He recalled that he had made a commitment to lead a fierce fight against the insecurity that rages in the eastern part of the country until the complete eradication of the armed groups.

"Lasting peace is a prerequisite for our happiness and the development of our country," Tshisekedi said.

During the state of siege, the provincial governments of Ituri and North Kivu will be made up of a military governor and a vice governor of the police, respectively, according to a presidential order.

It said the provincial governments and assemblies will be suspended and their prerogatives transferred to the provincial military authorities. "But they continue to enjoy their social benefits."

Civil courts will be replaced by military courts, the order also noted.

The DRC has been plagued by violence for decades as several rebel groups fight with each other or against the country’s military and UN forces for territorial control.

According to the UN, exploitation of natural resources continues to be a root cause and driver of conflict, with most armed groups having set aside their political demands and being involved in mineral trafficking.

More than 5 million people have been uprooted by insecurity and violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last two years, with nearly 2 million displaced in North Kivu Province alone, according to UN estimates.

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