EU peacekeepers in DRC confident of deterring violence after presidential runoff

The European Union (EU) peacekeeping force is confident about its ability to stem any violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the country's presidential runoff last Sunday, a spokesman for the force said on Thursday.

The EU force has been continuing around-the-clock armed patrols on the main streets of the Congolese capital of Kinshasa this week, which are carried out by its reinforcements transferred to the country from the Gabonese capital of Liberville not long ago, said Colonel Thierry Fusalba.

He added that the EU mission is also dispatching helicopter gunships to monitor the situations in Kinshasa and its nearby major installations.

The EU force will by no means be merciful toward any elements which dare to post a threat to the Congolese security by resorting to violence, stressed the spokesman, who came from France.

Fusalba also expressed cautious optimism about the security situation in the vast Central African nation, which have been ridden by internal conflict for more than one decade.

Currently, there are 1,500 EU peacekeepers in Kinshasa to provide security for the DRC's first democratic election in 46 years. These troops, mostly from Germany, France, Spain and Poland, have been present in the city since July 30 with a four-month mandate.

Besides the EU force, the United Nations also has a 17,000-strong peacekeeping mission in the DRC.

Sunday's runoff election pitted incumbent President Joseph Kabila against Jean-Pierre Bemba, a former warlord who was made vice president in the current power-sharing government after the country's 1998-2002 war. The vote counting is still in progress.

On Aug. 20, shortly before the results of the first round of the presidential poll were released, the guards of Kabila and Bemba clashed, killing at least 23 people.

Source: Xinhua



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