DR Congo military receives arms from Turkey
The Democratic Republic of Congo has received military equipment from Turkey, with Ankara showing intent to tighten relations with Kinshasa, just under three months after the nation was freed to purchase weapons from the global market.
Last weekend, Ankara’s donation arrived in Goma, the largest city in North Kivu province, the region that is currently in the grip of conflict pitying the Congolese army, FARDC and the M23 rebels. The region is also home to hundreds of other rebel groups who routinely launch attacks in and outside of the DRC, making the conflict a regional problem.
Turkey’s donation comes less than a month after the UN lifted sanctions on FARDC that required supplier countries to refer to the UN’s sanctions committee on DRC before shipping arms to the DRC. The notification system for sending arms to Congo ended on Tuesday 20 December, and Turkey did not even elaborate on the content of its arms to the public.
Read:UN Security Council lifts arms ban on DRC
African countries in the UN Security Council had argued that this requirement was a strategic chink in the armour of FARDC as it plans to secure its territory because it allowed enemies to know DRC’s weaponry.
Lieutenant-General Constant Ndima, the Military Governor of North Kivu, who received the equipment on behalf of President Felix Tshisekedi, said the Turkish donation “will strengthen the Congolese army units on the frontlines” against several armed groups and the M23.
Ankara has been elevating ties with a number of countries in Africa including Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and now DRC. It increased its embassies from 19 in 2010 to 44 at the end of last year.
The official Turkish policy for sub-Saharan Africa focuses on trade, investment, cultural projects, security and military cooperation and development projects, according to a Turkish government bulletin.
“The DRC is counting a lot on this cooperation which will surely produce good fruits in the future, for the well-being of the Congolese and Turkish brother peoples,” said Lieutenant-General Ndima.