UN peacekeepers assure operational capacity in DR Congo

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The UN chief has promised to strengthen the operational capacity of the peacekeeping force in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo where attacks on health workers and Ebola facilities have undermined efforts to stop the spread of the virus.

Security situation
In a meeting with President Félix Tshisekedi on Monday, António Guterres acknowledged that the security situation in eastern DR Congo was far from resolved and said it could worsen without the UN peacekeepers.

Last year former President Joseph Kabila called for the peacekeepers to leave, arguing that their mission had failed to restore peace.

Improved security measures
The UN Mission in DRC (MONUSCO) would strengthen its capacity to tackle armed ADF militants, announced the Secretary-General and increase its cooperation with the DRC Armed Forces, with the aim of better responding to the security concerns of the population.

The ultimate aim of the United Nations, continued the Secretary-General, is that MONUSCO will no longer be necessary and that it can be replaced with a country team that concentrates on working with the government for the development and well being of the Congolese people.

Mr Guterres said that it is a long term and gave his assurance that the UN remains engaged with the Democratic Republic of the Congo and “will not abandon the Congolese people.”

Some 16,000 peacekeepers are deployed in the country, making it one of the largest UN missions in the world.

Guerrilla tactics
Rebels often mingle with the population before attacking Ebola treatment centres and clinics.

The insecurity is undermining the efforts to tackle the Ebola virus.

These guerrilla like tactics in hard to access areas make it hard for the Congolese army and its UN partners to go after the rebels.

 

Christopher Ojilere