The United Nations representative in the Democratic Republic of Congo has alerted the Security Council of the proliferation of armed groups and violence that could become uncontrollable in the eastern part of the country.
Bintou Keita warned on Wednesday, June 29, that the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) could face a threat above its capacity given the M23 coordinated attacks in the region.
“If the M23 pursues its well-coordinated attacks against the DR Congo army, FARDC and soldiers of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) with increasing conventional capacity, MONUSCO could be confronted by a threat which is above its current capacity,” Keita warned during a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.
“The current activities of M23 and armed groups in the eastern DR Congo threaten to annul the progress made in the area of security and the stability in DR Congo and the region.
The UN official called on the Security Council to reverse the course of things and force DR Congo and Rwanda to resolve their differences.
“The Council must redouble its efforts in favour of a rapid de-escalation of the situation and unconditional disarmament of M23,” Keita said.
“I exhort DR Congo and Rwanda to seize the opportunity of the next summit, which President Joao Lourenco would host in Luanda as an occasion to resolve their differences by dialogue.”
The UN representative had denounced the “more and more sophisticated equipment” that the M23 rebels use in the eastern DR Congo, particularly in North Kivu province.
“The M23 disposes of firepower and equipment which are more and more sophisticated, in terms of long-distance mortar capacity and precision targeting of aircraft,” she said, affirming that during recent clashes, the M23 behaved as “a conventional army than an armed group”.
For Keita, this type of equipment represents an “evident threat to not only the population but also the UN Blue Helmets who have received a mandate to protect the civilians”.
“I want to, at this moment, render homage to the nine Blue Helmets who lost their lives, eight of them on March 29, while I was briefing this same Council, in a helicopter crash during a hostile operation in a zone controlled by M23 and one on April 5 in an offensive operation against the CODECO in Ituri,” Keita added.
“I want at this moment to reaffirm my firm condemnation of attacks by M23 and to reiterate, on the same occasion, the determination of MONUSCO to fulfil the mandate conferred upon it by the Council. In any case, the Council must redouble its efforts in favour of a rapid de-escalation of the situation and the unconditional disarmament of M23.”
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