US President Donald Trump told US Congress on Friday that the first of about 80 troops had arrived in Gabon on Wednesday to protect US citizens and diplomatic facilities should violence break out in Democratic Republic Of Congo (DRC)’s capital Kinshasa.
“The first of these personnel arrived in Gabon on January 2, 2019, with appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft,” Trump’s letter to Congress read.
Observers and the opposition say the election was marred by serious irregularities, the DRC’s government says the election was fair and went smoothly.
Kabila’s ruling coalition is backing his hand-picked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
Observers and the international community have raised concerns that a disputed result could cause unrest, as was the case after the 2006 and 2011 elections.
Read Donald Trump’s letter in full
Issued on: January 4, 2019
Dear Madam Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
United States Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Libreville, Gabon, to be in position to support the security of United States citizens, personnel, and diplomatic facilities in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
This deployment of approximately 80 personnel is in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the December 30, 2018, elections there.
The first of these personnel arrived in Gabon on January 2, 2019, with appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft.
Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Republic of the Congo, if necessary for these purposes.
These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed.
This action was taken consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148).
I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.
DONALD J. TRUMP