Last week, the DRC accused Zambia of wanting to occupy part of its territory on the side of the territories of Moba and Pweto. The Congolese government has even decided to strengthen the military presence on the border with Zambia in the two territories. But what is the reality on the ground?
With our correspondent in Kinshasa, Denise Maheho
Whether in the province of Haut-Katanga or in that of Tanganyika, some elected officials denounce the Zambian military presence on Congolese soil. In Moba territory, for example, the villages of Kalubamba and part of Muliro have been occupied by Zambian soldiers for about two months. “ I confirm that the Zambian soldiers are installed in Kalubamba, says Mwila Lambert, customary chef at Moliro. Helicopters fly over our space two to three times a day. They have already taken 15 km from Congolese territory. “
In Pweto, the Zambian army has not yet crossed the Congolese border, sources on the spot say. But more than a week ago, Zambia deployed troops and tanks along its border. What creates a Congolese side psychosis says a member of civil society in Pweto: ” Zambian soldiers are positioned in Lupia village, the village opposite. There are a dozen battle tanks. Now there, Pweto is on high alert. “
“Zambia has no interest in annexing land”
These charges are dismissed en masse for the Zambian authorities. ” That’s not true, they have the wrong information. The Zambian troops have not crossed the border, they are positioned inside our country. Troops stationed on the border are there to patrol when there is a security problem; this is what they are doing right now, along the border, while staying on the Zambian side. Two months ago, Congolese troops entered Zambian territory, attacked villages and looted food. We do not know whether they were Congolese soldiers or rebels. It is now up to the Congolese authorities to verify who these men were, soldiers or rebels “Said Zambian Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji. Before concluding : ” Zambia has eight neighbors with whom it shares its borders. And she has no problem with seven of them. We have no interest in annexing land beyond our borders, we are not that kind of country. “
In 2011, another conflict around the village of Moliro in Moba had opposed the two countries. Zambian soldiers even dislodged Congolese police and the migration office and planted their flags, said a former adviser to the interior ministry in ex-Katanga.