Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

3 August 2014

Tanzania: State Denies Sending Retired Soldiers to DRC

Tanzania People's Defence Forces (TPDF) has never sent retired soldiers to take part in secret military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as reported by one English tabloid last month.

The clarification issued in Dar es Salaam on Saturday by the Tanzania Information Services, MAELEZO, was in response to an article published by 'The East African' Issue No. 1030 that appeared on July 26, this year with the title; 'Ex-soldiers want $3m for covert Congo operation.'

According to the statement, the paper reported that more than 400 retired soldiers from Tanzania had threatened to sue the government of Tanzania for failing to pay them allowances amounting to US Dollar 3 million (approximately 6bn/) after serving in the DRC under the alleged clandestine military operation between 2000 and 2003.

"The paper further reported that the ex-soldiers were deployed to the DRC to provide military training to the government troops but upon arrival, the soldiers were dispatched for military combat in South Kivu and Katanga to fight Interahamwe rebels from Rwanda and Burundi insurgents (FDD).

"The report is untrue and based on unfounded allegations with the intention to mislead the public. The government or army officials were not responsible in sending to the DRC any of the retired soldiers who were already out of service," the statement reads in part, quoting the newspaper article.

The statement stated that the ex-soldiers might have made secret arrangements with people known to themselves and covertly entered Congo, and if not paid for the job as reported by the paper, they should complain to their associates and not the government even-if they are Tanzanian citizens.

"What the ex-soldiers did was absolutely wrong and against the law. The accusations against the government are unwarranted. However, authorities in the DRC were alerted about it," concludes the statement issued by the Director of Information.

The government assured all Tanzanians that there was no soldier sent officially to peace keeping mission and those serving or previously served in different parts of the world do so under the coordination and auspices of the international community, the UN in particular.

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