? Tanzanian retired army staff sneak under cover for jobs in DRC

Tanzania retired soldiers are said to have sneaked under cover outside the national boarders in search for greener pastures in war zone neigbouring Congo, it has been learnt.

Confirming the statement yesterday against a published claim by the regional weekly tabloid, the Department of Information Services, through the Ministry of Information Youths and Sports said assertions by retired army staff to have been dispatched to fight a war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had no command from the Commander-in-Chief.

The government said the truth was that, “the retired soldiers went to fight in Congo on their own will. This had nothing to do with the nation and the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces. They had their own interest and colluded with outsiders for their self benefits.”

He refuted a published claim alleging that more than 400 former Tanzanian soldiers have threatened to
sue its institution demanding for unpaid dues amounting to $3 million for their role in the war-torn zone between 2000 and 2003.

“If it is true that the said retired army staff have not been paid for their services, then, they should direct such demands to the relevant authorities they were fighting for” the statement said.

The statement further said that, “with the country’s defence system, retired army personnel are never brought back to serve the nation in the same capacity after their retirement. If ever they went to fight in the DRC they breached the country’s laws and the government has already cautioned its counterpart on the issue.”

The statement from the government availed to The Guardian on Sunday yesterday, said none of its retired soldiers had been sent to Congo or any other country to participate in military operation. It said the country was following international agreements in dispatching Tanzanian armed personnel to participate in several war-torn zones and not otherwise.

“The government wishes to assure Tanzanians that the article published by a weekly regional English tabloid is not true, distorts facts and misleads the public,” said part of the statement.

The recent refuted published article claimed that Tanzania People’s Defence Forces ex-soldiers were recruited to serve as military trainers and combatants with the Congolese army but were instead dispatched to Katanga Province and South Kivu upon their arrival in the Congo, to fight anti-Rwanda militants Interahamwe and Burundian rebels Forces Pour la Defense de la Democratie (FDD.

It quoted reliable sources as saying that the government had tried to negotiate with the soldiers but the parties failed to reach an agreement on the matter while also implicating Democratic Party Rev Christopher Mtikila as the recruiters of the service men.

The article further claimed that the retired service withdrawal from the front-line came after the UN realized of Tanzanian military intervention in Congo without its sanction.

Tanzania recently sent its troops to fight the M23 rebel group in the Eastern part of DRC as part of the United Nations intervention brigade. The country has also participated in peace keeping operations in Sierra-Leone, Sudan, Somalia, Comoro and Lebanon.