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WB aggravates poverty among DR Congo soldiers
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18:45, July 15, 2008

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The budget restrictions that have been imposed on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) by the World Bank have adversely affected socio-economic conditions of the country's armed forces, according to official sources.

The remarks were made on Monday by DR Congo's Interior Minister Denis Kalume Numbi during an interview with the "Top News" magazine on current issues especially on the basic causes of insecurity.

During the interview, the interior minister was quoted as saying that scarcity of resources was hampering efforts to establish a strong military force capable of protecting the people and discouraging insecurity.

At the same time, the minister called on everyone to assume the "responsibility that had been dictated by the circumstances with regard to the recruitment within the ranks of the DR Congo Armed Forces (FARDC), especially during the post-conflict period".

According to official figures, the lowest ranking military officer in the DR Congo has a salary that translates into less than one U.S. dollar per day. This situation, according to observers, has made many military officers to be prone to corruption.

Many years since the end of the last civil war, the DR Congo is still grappling with high levels of insecurity, more so in the eastern part of the country, where various militia groups and external rebel movements have refused to lay down their weapons.

Meanwhile, the DR Congo has reaffirmed that it will relocate elements of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in accordance with the Nairobi Declaration.

The assurance was made Monday by DR Congo's Foreign and International Cooperation Minister Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi, who appeared to be keen to address concerns raised by British ambassador to Kinshasa Nick Kay.

The presence of the predominantly Hutu rebel outfit, which also includes remnants of the former Interahamwe fighters, accused of planning and executing the 1994 Rwandan genocide, is the source of constant misunderstanding between the DR Congo and Rwanda.

The British diplomat stressed that it was up to the country's government "to demonstrate good will in its efforts to confront this volatile situation" in the eastern part of the country.

The British diplomat, who was speaking in Kinshasa, described the conference on peace, security and development of the provinces of North and South Kivu that was held in January in Goma as "very positive."

The program on peace, security and development in these two provinces, also known as the "Amani Program", which was the result of the conference, and the planned amnesty constituted a government policy asset in the search for lasting peace in the DR Congo, said Ambassador Kay.

The law on amnesty in the two provinces, which has already been adopted by the national assembly, is expected to pass through the second reading in the senate without a hitch.


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