Tanzanian Leader: We’re Ready to Fight Rebels in Eastern DRC

Tanzanian Leader: We're Ready to Fight Rebels in Eastern DRC

FILE – Jakaya Kikwete, president of Tanzania, addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2014. DAR ES SALAAM/KINSHASA—

Tanzania is ready to take on Rwandan Hutu rebels in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, President Jakaya Kikwete said, suggesting a joint offensive with U.N.-backed, South African forces is imminent.

The U.N. mission in Congo said government troops and peacekeepers were intensifying deployments toward rebel positions, but insurgents were also mobilizing and mixing with civilians, raising the risk of their being used as human shields.

Congo’s army and a 3,000-strong South African, Tanzanian and Malawian U.N. intervention force is due to launch an offensive against Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebels, who have been at the heart of years of conflict in central Africa’s Great Lakes region.

In a statement issued late Tuesday after talks with South African Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Kikwete dismissed talk that he was reluctant to tackle the FDLR.

"There are people who pretend to read Tanzania’s mind," Kikwete said. "They claim that Tanzania has no intention of taking on rebel groups in the DRC. These are bizarre people because Tanzania, like South Africa and Malawi, has troops in the DRC with a firm United Nations […]

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