Burundi has strongly rejected allegations that its soldiers deployed in North Kivu in eastern DRC are collaborating with armed groups, the Burundian army spokesman said here in a press briefing Saturday.
“We deplore some ill-intended people like the Rwandan television RTV that made groundless accusations against Burundian soldiers deployed in North Kivu,” said Colonel Floribert Biyereke during the press briefing.
According to him, those ill-intended people are accusing Burundian troops of “collaborating with armed groups, of training them and of offering weapons to them.”
“Those slanderous statements are a grave insult considering the professionalism of our (Burundian) troops wherever they are,” said Biyereke.
He underlined that Burundian soldiers “never collaborated with armed groups and will never do that.”
During the press briefing, Biyereke rather highly commended the achievements of Burundian troops deployed in the eastern DRC.
“Since their arrival in their operational area, Burundian troops worked hard in accordance with their mandate and wherever they are, their performances are highly appreciated,” said Biyereke.
He gave an example of successful joint operations by Burundian soldiers and the Congolese army in South Kivu province where local armed groups voluntarily laid down their arms while foreign armed groups including Burundian rebels were jointly fought.
Besides military operations, added Biyereke, Burundian and Congolese soldiers reconciled conflicting communities.
In North Kivu province, Burundian soldiers have been ensuring the security of the populations and their belongings, and have been handing over stolen cattle and objects to their owners, said Biyereke.
He also indicated that Burundian soldiers have been escorting delegations visiting the area under their responsibility, as well as assisting injured civilians and evacuating them to health facilities.
To implement the decision of the East African Community (EAC) heads of state on the restoration of peace in eastern DRC, Burundi deployed three battalions including two battalions in South Kivu province and another one in North Kivu province, according to Biyereke. Enditem