French President offers to help DR Congo fight armed militia

President Emmanuel Macron, left, told DRC counterpart Felix Tshisekedi that France would extend military support to fight armed groups (AFP Photo/ludovic MARIN)

President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday offered to help African leaders whose countries are immersed in conflict brought about by militia groups.

President Emmanuel Macron and DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi in France./AFP

The French leader told DR Congo counterpart Felix Tshisekedi that his country would support its fight against armed groups in the vast central African country’s volatile east.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has been wracked by conflict near its eastern border, after numerous militias evolved from the two Congo wars (1996-1997 and 1998-2003).

“France is fully engaged at the side of DRC to fight armed groups which are destabilizing the country”, some of which are linked to the Islamic State group, Macron told Tshisekedi during a meeting in Paris at which he also pledged French support for other African states battling conflict.

Macron said French help would take on a “military dimension” and involve “intelligence” but did not divulge more details.

An Islamist-led Ugandan armed group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), has targeted the region of Beni, killing hundreds of civilians over the last five years.

The Islamic State has claimed some of the attacks but there is no clear proof of any link between the two groups.

Macron called on regional countries to “engage themselves with President Tshisekedi in this very important fight”.

Tshisekedi on his part said he wanted to see “France being much more present in Africa.