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Congo Vows to Defeat LRA Rebels


Residents in the Democratic Republic of Congo affected by the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army LRA) rebels said they will support a continuous assault on the rebels. This comes after President Joseph Kabila's government vowed to root out the rebels who have been using the country as base to stage attacks in neighboring Uganda. The national armies of Congo, Uganda and Southern Sudan jointly launched an offensive against rebel held positions in the DRC. The attack aimed to pressure LRA leader Joseph Kony to sign a final peace agreement after repeatedly failing to end the more than two decade-old civil war. Congolese journalist Emry Makumene tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Kinshasa that those affected by the LRA insurgency are delighted with the move to root out the rebels.

"First of all this is a very good reaction from our government here to tackle the Lord's Resistance Army rebels who have been operating in the north eastern part of the country. This force has been very harmful to civilians in that area so certainly, this is a very good decision and we hope that it is really going to the end, which is really to root out this negative force in our country," Makumene said.

He said President Kabila's government has taken a longer time to respond to residents' demands to get rid of the rebels.

"The people who have been living in the Garamba Park that Joseph Kony's men went in have been asking for help from the government for a very long time now. The simple reason being that they are victims of extortion, they have been killed by the rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army and certainly the population is very hopeful that the government will put all means together to root out the negative forces," he said.

Makumene said the affected residents have often complained about the atrocities committed by the LRA rebels.

"The LRA rebels have been accused of raping and killing innocent civilians and taking their belongings. And the population has been complaining for a long time now, but nothing has been done. But thank heavens the government is finally taking steps and joining the Ugandans to fight these people from the Lord's Resistance Army," Makumene pointed out.

He said President Kabila's government is saddled with too many militant forces in the country, which prevented it from decisively dealing with the Lord's Resistance Army rebels.

"In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Lord's Resistance Army is not the only rebel movement operating in that part of the country. There are numerous armed groups, which are operational in the area in general so the Lord's Resistance Army is just one group, but there are dozens of them operating. So, the government is faced with so many armed groups in the area that and maybe that is why it is very difficult for the government here to react proactively to tackle one rebel movement," he said.

Makumene said resident adversely affected by the rebel insurgency have welcome the government promise to root out the LRA rebels.

"We heard the announcement that has been made by Alexis Thambe Mwamba, the Congolese foreign minister about the fact the Congolese are going to join the Ugandans to fight against this Lord's Resistance Army group. The decision was welcomed by the population, but so far the population what action has been taking on the ground is yet to be known," Makumene noted.

Congolese Foreign Minister Alexis Thambe Mwamba told a news conference in Paris that the military offensive began over a week ago and proceeding acceptably. He said that in the coming days Kinshasa will be able to be totally rid of Kony's Lord's Resistance Army rebels.

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