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UN Calls For Urgent De-escalation Of DR Congo’s M23 Crisis, Wants To Focus On Other Issues

The deployment of a big portion of the resources of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) and the Congolese army FARDC in the fight against the March 23 (M23) rebels has negative implications on other regions of the country where other armed groups operate.

The deployment of a big portion of the resources of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) and the Congolese army FARDC in the fight against the March 23 (M23) rebels has negative implications on other regions of the country where other armed groups operate.

The attacks from July 7 to 11, 2022 attributed to Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) combatants resulted in at least 20 deaths with several persons kidnapped, including 30 children.

To this end, MONUSCO insists on the urgency of a de-escalation of the M23 crisis to enable it to focus on other situations.

“We do not have extensive capacities. The Congolese army does not have extensive capacities. Contrary to what one infers from questions posed, we do not have thousands of soldiers who are doing nothing. Everybody is mobilised”, the MONUSCO spokesperson Mathias Gillmann said in Kinshasa on Wednesday,  adding that MONUSCO has deployed a large part of its resources in fighting the M23 rebels.

“Put simply, we and the Congolese army have right now mobilised a large part of our means and a big part of our troops are mobilised against the resurgence of the M23. And in this sense, normally, if you on one side take the soldiers and equipment to fight against M23, you are going to see areas where the Congolese army can no longer be satisfactorily present and where our own capacities would be reduced”, the MONUSCO spokesperson said. 

“It is for these reasons that the UN Special Representative has made this appeal to the Security Council: there have been advances and some progress that has been made recently in the eastern DR Congo which is threatened by the fact that we are obliged, sometimes we as a Mission, but also the Congolese army, are obliged to mobilise a large part of our means and our troops on this M23 crisis”, he added

The UN official noted the most urgent problem today is to arrive at a de-escalation.

“That is why it is extremely important that this de-escalation materialises as quickly as possible and that normally, regionally, everyone plays his positive role to put an end to this situation. It is also important for the populations of Ituri, which are living under the threats of the ADF and the Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO). Thus, this is not simply for the populations living in the middle of these armed groups in Ituri but also for all the populations living among these armed groups in different provinces”, Gillmann said.

The UN official went on: “At the same time, one has to try to be as flexible as possible to dismantle the ADF networks. The ADF is disseminated and dispersed under pressure and it is necessary to continue to exert this pressure and we are trying to be as flexible as possible.”

In the meantime, the East African Community (EAC) regional force is still being awaited and the Nairobi process is not advancing that much while the national mourning in Angola following the death of the country’s former president does not permit the holding of the meeting of the DR Congo-Rwanda enlarged commission.


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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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