Namibia has reinforced its troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of an effort to support new ruler Joseph Kabila who succeeded his assassinated father Laurent-Desire Kabila, ‘The Namibian’ said on Thursday.
Defence Minister Erkki Nghimtina was quoted as saying that Namibian Defence Force (NDF) soldiers left Namibia on Monday “to provide security to heads of state who attended Kabila’s funeral”.
Nghimtina also said the new Namibian troops “will help reinforce the allied forces to provide security cover to Kinshasa and Lubumbashi”. ‘The Namibian’ quoted regional military sources as saying that as many as 6,200 more allied troops had arrived in the Congo to bolster the capital Kinshasa, the copper and cobalt city of Lubumbashi and the diamond centre of Mbuji-Maji.
Opposition groups have criticised the Namibian deployment. Congress of Democrats (CoD) president Ben Ulenga said: “We have been dreading this because it will mean getting further stuck in the DRC morass.” Ulenga said sending more troops to the DRC called into question the commitment of the belligerents to the Lusaka peace agreement signed in 1999. “There will be negative ramifications for the country. The government does not have the resources. Already the government does not pump money into the regions. Any money that gets into the DRC is a loss to our regions or other sectors in the Namibian economy. But the government doesn’t seem capable of listening any more.”