U.S. Africa Command special operations forces team completes evaluation mission in the DRC in support of the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership

Kinshasa, DRC–U.S. Africa Command special operations forces concluded a multi-week evaluation mission in the DRC, assessing the capacity of Congolese Armed Forces (FARDC) to support the DRC Government’s counter-terrorism mission and of the Park Rangers of the Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature (ICCN) to combat the illicit wildlife trafficking that serves to finance armed groups and terrorists in Eastern Congo

This assessment mission took place at the invitation of the DRC Government and supports the expressed goal of President Tshisekedi to restore peace and security in the east of the country and to combat ISIS-DRC/ADF as part of the Global Coalition Against ISIS.

“This mission has allowed us to understand the Congolese Armed Forces capacity and structure and to assess how best they can implement their plans to pursue their vital counter- terrorism mission,” said U.S. SOF Team Leader Capt. Markos Magana. “In addition, we were able to understand the important role played by the Park Rangers of the ICCN who help to cut off a crucial supply route for nefarious actors in Eastern DRC.”

In April 2019, the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity was established to highlight the joint challenges and opportunities faced by our two countries. In February 2021, a third “P” for Preservation of the environment was added to reflect the importance of the DRC and the Congo Basin, the world’s “second lung”, to our efforts to combatting climate change.

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“Promoting peace and stability is key element of the U.S.-DRC Privileged Partnership, particularly focused on ending the violence and suffering in Eastern DRC,” said Mike Hammer, U.S. Ambassador to the DRC. “During the recent assessment mission the U.S. Special Operations Forces team used its knowledge of fighting ISIS around the world toward helping the Congolese Armed Forces evaluate what is needed for them to successfully prosecute campaigns against ISIS-DRC and against other armed groups who conduct illicit economic exploitation of DRC’s national parks as a funding source for abusing and terrorizing the Congolese people. This mission reflects the United States’ continuing support and commitment to the DRC government’s efforts to provide security for its citizens.”

U.S. Africa Command and special operations forces are committed to mutually beneficial engagement with partners.