Military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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The Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (French: Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC)) is the state military organisation responsible for defending the Democratic Republic of Congo. The FARDC is being rebuilt as part of the peace process which followed the end of the Second Congo War in July 2003.

The majority of FARDC members are land forces, but it also has a small air force and an even smaller navy. Together the three services may number around 130,000 personnel.[1] In addition, there is a presidential force called the Republican Guard, but it and the National Congolese Police (PNC) are not part of the Armed Forces.

The government in the capital city Kinshasa, the United Nations, the European Union, and bilateral partners which include Angola, South Africa, and Belgium are attempting to create a viable force with the ability to provide the DRC with stability and security. However, this process is being hampered by corruption,[2] and inadequate donor coordination. The various military units now grouped under the FARDC banner are some of the most unstable in Africa after years of war and underfunding.

The problem is that the clique around Kabila who run the Congo neither want nor need effective armed forces. Effective armed forces would obstruct accomplishment of private aims, and they are not needed because the clique does not need to control the whole territory - merely those areas which further their aims.[3]

To assist the new government, since February 2000 the United Nations has had the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), which currently has a strength of over 16,000 peacekeepers in the country. Its principal tasks are to provide security in key areas, such as the Sud-Kivu and Nord-Kivu in the east, and to assist the government in reconstruction. Foreign rebel groups are also in the Congo, as they have been for most of the last half-century. The most important is the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), against which Laurent Nkunda's troops were fighting, but other smaller groups such as the anti-Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army are also present.[4]

The legal standing of the FARDC was laid down in the Transitional Constitution, articles 118 and 188. This was then superseded by provisions in the 2006 Constitution, articles 187 to 192. Law 04/023 of 12 November 2004 establishes the General Organisation of Defence and the Armed Forces.[5] As of mid 2010, the Congolese Parliament is debating a new defence law, provisionally designated Organic Law 130.

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