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Right Group Warns of Instability During Congo Army Reform


Human rights group Amnesty International warned Thursday the Democratic Republic of Congo's army reform threatens its stability. Franz Wild has the details from Kinshasa.

Amnesty says Congo's transition to peace and democracy could be undone, if the process of reforming the army and integrating rebel groups is not drastically changed.

In a report, it says what it calls the "failed scheme" risks leading to new political and military crises, with increased violence and more human rights violations.

Rebel commanders have received high-ranking positions in the national army, despite allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The human rights group identifies corruption as a central problem with the army. It says commanders inflate troop numbers to receive more pay, but little of this trickles through to the soldiers at the bottom.

It says the army resorts to armed robbery and violation of human rights to extort money from civilians. The United Nations considers the national army Congo's worst human rights abuser.

Congo started reforming its army in 2003, after rebel groups signed up to end five years of war, which left nearly four million people dead.

President Joseph Kabila, who was confirmed in office in last year's first elections in four decades, has pledged to improve the security situation in Congo, especially in its turbulent east.

He has the support of the U.N.'s biggest peacekeeping mission, with nearly 18,000 military personnel.

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