The United States government has expressed concerns over the continued massacres of civilians by rebels of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in Beni, North Kivu of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mike Hammer, the U.S. Ambassador to the DR Congo voiced the concerns during discussions with the Governor of North Kivu, Carly Kasivita, Feb. 4, in Goma.
“The suffering of the population of Beni is serious. I have been in the DRC for two years and I am worried because we have not made big progress in eliminating the threats of the ADF which has links with islamist groups as well as other armed groups,”Hammer declared.
“Firstly, it is the responsibility of the state, the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Cong (FARDC), to ameliorate the security situation but the United States is there as a partner to see how to put an end to this difficult situation.”
Carly Kasivita, the Governor of North Kivu, it should be noted, has within the past two weeks been leading a joint mission with the FARDC, the national police and provincial members of parliament in the region of Beni-Lubero to evaluate the security situation on the ground.
For Ambassador Hammer, these efforts and missions must be increased by all with a view to reestablishing peace in Beni.
“It is necessary that all responsible persons, the Congolese authorities, the international community as well as the local population work together,” Hammer said.
“The enemies are not the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). The enemies are not the citizens’ movements which have been demonstrating.”
“No, the enemies are the ADF. The enemies are the armed groups and the criminal groups, the persons who are implicated in corruption and the exploitation of the country. If we work together, we can make progress. I am optimistic.”
The FARDC have already installed their advanced headquarter in Goma, North Kivu, waiting for the arrival of President Felix Tshisekedi who had last October promised the installation of the advanced headquarter which would remain there until peace returns to the region.
The president had promised to use the national army to ensure peace reigns in the East.
“It would be the army that would constitute our instrument for the imposition of peace and security and to protect all the territories”, the US official said.
This new concern over the security situation in North Kivu is in contrast to the optimistic picture painted by David Gressly, the former Special Assistant Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who had during a farewell discussion with the North Kivu governor, Carly Kasivita, indicated that there was an improvement in the security situation in North Kivu.
He said the worsening insecurity had led MONUSCO to close nine of its 18 offices in the country adding that two others would be closed by the end of March 2021.
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