UN Security Council in DR Congo as heavy fighting rages in the East
A delegation from the United Nations Security Council began a three-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday evening, whose eastern part of the country is the scene of violence between the army and the M23 rebellion. Fighting is raging on Friday morning, according to local sources, less than 30 km from the big city of Goma.
A delegation from the United Nations Security Council arrived on Thursday 9 March to the Democratic Republic of Congo for a three-day visit, the world body said, as violent clashes with M23 rebels continued in the east of the country.
Fighting was raging on Friday morning, according to local sources, between the army and this group less than 30 km from the big city of Goma where an emergency European aid plane landed at midday. The aircraft is the first chartered as part of a civilian humanitarian airlift announced on Saturday by the European Union to come to the aid of populations affected by the fighting.
After several announcements of cessation of hostilities remained without effect in recent months, a ceasefire was supposed to come into force on Tuesday.
The day before, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the rebellion to abide by the truce, while last weekend French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting Kinshasa, threatened the parties to the conflict with sanctions. who would ignore this new deadline.
But the guns did not stop on the appointed day in the province of North Kivu, where the M23 continues to expand its territory. Kinshasa accuses Rwanda of supporting this rebellion, which has been corroborated by United Nations experts and denounced by several Western countries, although Kigali denies it.
Concerns ahead of elections
“We encourage all stakeholders to cease fire and all those who have nothing to do in the DRC to return home”, Nicolas de Rivière, French ambassador to the United Nations, said on Wednesday in New York, before leaving. for Kinshasa.
“It is important to act, it is important that the armed groups, whatever they are, withdraw, that peace finally returns to the DRC”, he declared to the press on the arrival of the delegation. at the airport of the DRC capital.
“We came to see how to provide solutions to the root causes of the conflicts”, see also “the humanitarian crisis in the East”, said his Gabonese counterpart Michel Xavier Biang. “We are also coming into an election year (…), our message will be to encourage political actors to engage in a process of transparent, credible elections,” he added. Elections, presidential in particular, are scheduled in the DRC on December 20th.
Distrust of the UN
In Kinshasa, the Security Council delegation will meet the authorities, including President Félix Tshisekedi, before going on Saturday and Sunday to Goma, the capital of North Kivu, a city of more than a million inhabitants. between Rwanda to the east, Lake Kivu to the south and the M23 rebels to the north and west.
The representatives of the Council intend to “assess the security and humanitarian situation in North Kivu”, indicated in a press release the UN Mission in the country (Monusco), and “evaluate the context in which this force is evolving”.
Present in the DRC for 23 years and strong still today of more than 16 000 men, Monusco is increasingly criticized for its inability to put an end to the violence that has been going on in the East for nearly 30 years.
“We are here to support the action of Monusco, to remind that it is part of the solution to find peace”, declared the Gabonese ambassador to the UN on his arrival in Kinshasa.
>> To read also: In Africa, the UN missions “at the end of the race”
Escalation of violence
In addition to the M23, eastern Congo is plagued by violence from many other armed groups. In the night from Wednesday to Thursday, in the north of the province of North Kivu, a new attack attributed to the ADF rebels (Allied Democratic Forces), affiliated with the jihadist group Islamic State, left more than 40 dead.
The ADF are originally mainly Muslim Ugandan rebels, who have been rooting since the mid-1990s in eastern DRC where they are accused of having massacred thousands of civilians.
In 2021, attacks on Ugandan soil were also attributed to them and a joint military operation between the Congolese and Ugandan armies was launched to hunt them down in North Kivu and in the neighboring province of Ituri.
The United States last week offered a reward of up to 5 million dollars for any information that might lead to their leader, a Ugandan in his forties named Musa Baluku.
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