Republican Guard (Democratic Republic of the Congo)
The Republican Guard (FR:Garde Républicaine) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly known as the Special Presidential Security Group (GSSP), is maintained by President Joseph Kabila. Military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) military officials state that the Garde Républicaine is not the responsibility of FARDC, but the Head of State. Apart from Article 140 of the Law on the Army and Defence, no legal stipulation on the DRC's Armed Forces makes provision for the GR as a distinct unit within the national army. In February 2005, President Joseph Kabila passed a decree which appointed the GR's commanding officer and 'repealed any previous provisions contrary' to that decree. The GR is more than 10,000 strong (the ICG said 10,000–15,000 in January 2007), and consists of three brigades, the 10th, at Kinshasa, the 15th, and the 16th, at Lubumbashi. It has better working conditions and is paid regularly, but still commits rapes and robberies nearby their bases.
Brigadier General Dieudonne Banze Lubundji is commander of the Republican Guard. He was appointed in 2007, and from 2003 - 2006 was FARDC deputy chief of staff for operations. The previous commander, Jean-Claude Kifwa, became commander of the 9th Military Region (Province Orientale).
In an effort to extend his personal control across the country, Joseph Kabila has deployed the GR at key airports, ostensibly in preparation for an impending presidential visit. At the end of 2005, there were Guards deployed in Mbandaka, Kindu, Lubumbashi, Bukavu, Kolwezi, staying many months after the President had left. They are still deployed at Kisangani's Bangoka airport, where they appear to answer to no local commander and have caused trouble with MONUC troops there.
The GR is also supposed to undergo the integration process, but as of January 2007, only one battalion had been announced as been integrated. Formed at a brassage centre in the Kinshasa suburb of Kibomango, the battalion included 800 men, half from the former GSSP and half from the MLC and RCD Goma.
The Guard appears to be a functional successor to Mobutu's Special Presidential Division.
- Amnesty International, DRC Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and the Reform of the Army, Section VII A, 25 January 2007, AI Index: AFR 62/001/2007
- 15th Brigade identified via EUSEC DR Congo Youtube video. See also reference to 16th Brigade at Lubumbashi at http://www.rsssf.com/tablesz/zaire05.html
- Alternately reported as 'Dieudonne M'Banze Lubundji.' http://www.afdevinfo.com/htmlreports/peo/peo_48039.html, accessed June 2010
- ICG, SSR in the Congo, Africa Report No. 104, 13 February 2006
- 'Sortie officielle du premier bataillon integre de la Garde Republicaine des FARDC', Xinhua News Agency, 15 September 2006, cited in Amnesty International DRC Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) and the Reform of the Army, Section VII A, 25 January 2007, AI Index: AFR 62/001/2007
- Henri Boshoff, The DDR Process in the DRC: a never-ending story, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 2 July 2007
- Human Rights Watch, Democratic Republic of Congo Casualties of War: Civilians, Rule of Law, and Democratic Freedoms, Vol. 11, No. 1 (A), February 1999
- International Crisis Group, Security Sector Reform in the Congo, Africa Report N°104, 13 February 2006