DRC names new army chief among broad military reforms

KINSHASA, DRC – Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has replaced the head of the armed forces as part of broader military reforms aimed at boosting efficiency, his office said.

Congo’s army is fighting multiple armed groups, mainly in its restive east where ethnic militias, Islamist fighters and other rebel groups are battling for control near the borders with Uganda and Rwanda.

Christian Tshiwewe Songhesha, former commander of the Republican Guard, an elite unit in charge of protecting the head of state, has replaced Célestin Mbala Musense as the army chief of staff, the government said in a statement late on Monday.

The new deputy chief of staff in charge of operations, Jerome Chico Tshitambwe, comes from the same unit.

“Almost the entire staff has been replaced by young officers. Several are from the Republican Guard, but not all, and that’s because they have proven themselves,” the president’s deputy director of communications, Giscard Kusema, said.

The wave of appointments is part of a broader framework of military reform, Kusema told Reuters. A new military programming law was recently drawn up for the period 2022-25.

“For years, all the experts have been asking for a military programming law that gives more financial autonomy to the army and flexibility in procedures,” said Kusema. – Reuters

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