UN agencies sound alarm over renewed clashes in eastern DR Congo — Global Issues

The UN Mission, MONUSCO, also called on the group to respect the Luanda roadmap, an agreement signed in 2022 by Angola, DRC and Rwanda that strives for peace in the conflict-affected eastern part of the country.

MONUSCO is carrying out a three-phase process of withdrawal from the country following a UN Security Councilresolution adopted in December that would see the gradual handover of responsibility to the Congolese Government later this year.

Indiscriminate bombing

Recent fighting between Government forces and the M23 group alongside indiscriminate bombing has recently strained already limited resources to accommodate 800,000 internally displaced people in the region, and 2.5 million others displaced across North Kivu province.

At the same time, the impact of devastating flooding continues to affect the country, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, reported last week.

Some 100,000 houses, 1,325 schools, 267 health facilities and large swathes of agricultural land have been damaged or destroyed, leaving an estimated two million people – nearly 60 per cent of them children – in need of assistance.

Continued security support

Meanwhile, the UN Mission in the country, MONUSCO, has continued to support the Congolese army by defending major routes leading to key towns of Sake and Goma in North Kivu province, the UN Spokesperson said.

Due to the deteriorating security situation around Sake and Goma, the Mission is reinforcing its presence there by bringing in peacekeepers from its Force Intervention Brigade based in Beni, in the northern part of the province, he added.

Over the weekend, MONUSCO met with the coordinator of the Congolese armed forces in North Kivu to coordinate joint military action in the defence of both Sake and Goma, he said.

The Mission also expressed concern over recent disinformation campaigns targeting peacekeepers, which is hampering the peacekeepers’ ability to implement their mandate.

Peacekeepers are continuing to facilitate safe passage of civilians fleeing the fighting to more secure areas, including around the Kitchanga base, where some 25,000 civilians have sought UN protection, the spokesperson said.

UN peacekeeping chief visits DR Congo

Last Tuesday, Peace Operations head Jean-Pierre Lacroix visited MONUSCO with Catherine Pollard, Under-Secretary-General for Management Strategy, Policy and Compliance, and Christian Saunders, Special Coordinator for Improving UN Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.

The peacekeeping chief reviewed the Mission’s ongoing work in the context of the disengagement plan jointly agreed upon by the Government.

“It is essential that the transfer of responsibility for security and the protection of civilians takes place at the same time as MONUSCO withdraws from certain sensitive areas where peacekeepers ensure the physical safety of several hundred thousand civilians,” Mr. Lacroix said last Tuesday.

He also called on the M23 group to cease hostilities.

Earlier this month, UN Special Representative for DR Congo, Bintou Keita, who also heads MONUSCO, condemned a series of attacks on UN staff in Kinshasa, calling on Congolese authorities to launch an investigation.

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