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STUTTGART, Germany — About 750 Congolese soldiers graduated Monday from a seven-month training program conducted by U.S. Special Operations Command Africa.

The training involved instruction in small-unit tactics, communications, medical care and HIV/AIDS prevention. The program’s intent was to increase the ability of the Congolese army to conduct effective internal security operations and help guard the country’s volatile border regions. U.S. trainers also focused on instruction aimed at preventing abuse by Democratic Republic of Congo’s armed forces, which has had a history of brutalizing the country’s citizens.

The training was conducted near the country’s capital of Kisangani, where U.S. Africa Command special forces troops worked to help build a special light infantry battalion that is expected to serve as a model for future reforms across the DRC’s military.

At the graduation ceremony, Brig. Gen. Jean-Claude Kifwa, commander of the DRC military’s 9th Region, said there are high expectations for the battalion.

“The army we’re building must obey the laws of the republic, human rights and international law at all times and in all places,” Kifwa said in a news release.

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