THE Ministry of Defence and National Service has clarified on reports about the reported deployment of the army brigade to 'fight' M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, (DRC) as published by two daily papers three days ago.
The papers reported that Tanzania was ready to send to the DRC 850 troops to fight the rebels being part of implementation of the UN Security Council resolution Number 2098 of 2013 which directs that a military contingent be deployed to RDC to face M23 rebels.
A statement signed by the spokesperson of the Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF), Colonel Kapambala Mgawe, and issued in Dar es Salaam on Saturday says Tanzania does not intend to send troops to fight the rebels but rather join other peacekeepers to help restore normalcy in DRC.
"The Defence Force would like to inform the general public that Tanzania has been requested by the UN Security Council under Resolution 2098/2013 to release a contingent of soldiers to assist on restoration of peace in a war ravaged DRC to give a chance to smooth functioning of the civilian rule. Our soldiers will join their counterparts in the DRC (MONUSCO).
The government has agreed to dispatch soldiers solely for peacekeeping mission, TPDF says in the statement. It adds that the army will execute its duties according to the regulations established by the UN.
TPDF spokesperson says in the statement that preparations were underway before departure of the army personnel for the DRC for peace mission, adding that the only remaining procedure was for the UN to specify the beginning of the mission.
Judging from the presence of various military groups in DRC, according to the statement, the UN Security Council underscored the need to deploy peacekeepers to protect the civilians and general protection of peacekeeping forces.
"The army would like to inform the public that peacekeeping is part of the various duties of TPDF and in recognition of that, Tanzania continues to take part in peacekeeping missions in different countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Ivory Coast in compliance to the UN regulations," says the statement. "The media should be patient as completion of the preparation process will be communicated to the public accordingly," concludes the statement