Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) information minister has expressed concern that the conflict in neighboring Central African Republic (C.A.R) could threaten security of the entire region.
According to government officials thousands of C.A.R refugees fleeing the conflict in their country have crossed the border into the DRC.
Lambert Mende says the government in Kinshasa is working with member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to help the C.A.R stabilize the security situation there.
“We are more concerned about that conflict because we share 1600 kilometers of border with Central African Republic so, whatever can happen there can impact our security,” said Mende. “That is why we are very eager to bring in our contribution in trying to stabilize the situation over there,” he said.
The DRC has sent a battalion of soldiers and a unit of plainclothes policemen to the C.A.R, according to Mende. He praised the efforts of the government troops in the C.A.R since many of the soldiers speak similar languages like those affected by the conflict.
“Our troops are many times called to separate these rival factions that are fighting, and they are also working with the population to assist them. Because we share cultures, we share language, so it is very easy for us to try to help when it comes the time of negotiating between groups,” said Mende.
His comments came after Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned Wednesday that the C.A.R conflict could destabilize the region and threaten global security.
Mende says the government in Kinshasa is working with international relief agencies to provide assistance to refugees who crossed the border into the country following the violence.
“We have no other way of dealing [with them] but accommodating them in conformity with international laws,” said Mende. “We are working closely with UN High Commission for Refugees to help those guys and take them away from the border [and] that is what we are doing.”
Mende says his administration supports calls for the international community to expedite an intervention bid to help end the security crisis in the C.A.R.
“That is a position that is shared by all African Union [member] states. Of course we are [a] member of the AU. So, we need really that this force that has been set by the Security Council, be operational as soon as possible, and bring in more elements to help stabilize the situation,” said Mende.
The Security Council recently approved sending troops to the C.A.R following violence there that forced thousands of refugees to flee their homes into neighboring countries.
The C.A.R was plunged into security crisis after Michel Djotodia led the Seleka armed group to topple former President Francois Bozize in March last year.
Clottey interview with Lambert Mende, DRC information minister