At least 18 vehicles were burnt and four persons reported dead in an attack on a convoy in Ofay, between Komanda and Luna, 75 km from Bunia in eastern DR Congo.
The convoy was being escorted by soldiers of the national army (FARDC) and the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
The convoy was escorted by only one FARDC vehicle and three MONUSCO vehicles, carrying an unknown number of soldiers.
Since the attack on Wednesday, Sept. 1 on the convoy which was two kilometers long and made up of trucks, ordinary vehicles, and motorbikes carrying travelers and business people, several people have been reported missing by family members.
Combatants of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) were suspected to have carried out the attack. The ADF fighters are suspected to have killed 22 persons between Aug. 2 and 4, 2021 and another two persons on Aug. 17.
The DR Congo government and MONUSCO launched an operation to escort vehicles carrying travelers and goods in most parts of the Eastern DR Congo on Aug. 7. But the ADF rebels have intensified their attacks since then.
“The protection of civilians in Eastern DR Congo and particularly in Ituri and North Kivu demands a lot of resources and finances which the government and MONUSCO don’t seem to have,” a political analyst who opted for anonymity told HumAngle in Bunia.
“This lack of resources is demonstrated by the fact that the FARDC and MONUSCO could only garner four vehicles in total to escort a convoy of one hundred trucks and other vehicles. That was not enough to deter the ADF from attacking the convoy.”
MONUSCO and FARDC officials assured that the escort missions will continue despite the attack.
“We would draw lessons from this attack and ameliorate our organizational methods. We may decide to use aerial support or reduce the number of vehicles for each convoy. We are considering various options,“ a senior military source.
“The ambush of Wednesday Sept. 1 which directly targeted the convoy on this road considered as the umbilical cord between Beni territory and Ituri province was very disturbing.”
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