World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Eastern DR Congo Relatively Calm

Eastern DR Congo Relatively Calm, UN Mission Reports

21 November 2008 – The security situation in war-torn east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is calm, with the recent ceasefire apparently holding, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to the country reported today.

North Kivu province, which borders Rwanda, has been the scene of fierce fighting between Congolese military forces (FARDC) and a rebel militia known as the CNDP, which is led by renegade army general Laurent Nkunda. Other armed groups, including the Mayi Mayi, have also been involved in clashes, some of which have been along ethnic lines. The violence has uprooted an estimated quarter of a million civilians in the past few months.

Yesterday, the Security Council authorized a temporary increase of more than 3,000 blue helmets serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known by its French acronym MONUC, to deal with the violence in the country’s east.

The extra 2,785 troops and 300 police officers will buttress the 17,000 uniformed personnel already serving with the mission, the largest UN force worldwide but one faced with the task of quelling unrest and protecting civilians in one of Africa’s largest countries.

MONUC said that there have been three minor incidents involving brief exchanges of fire between Mayi Mayi fighters and CNDP rebels, but no casualties have been reported.

In the provincial capital Goma, MONUC is continuing to reinforce its troops, with patrols being carried out together with FARDC and the Congolese National Police (CNP) to boost safety in the city.

The mission also spoke out against the systematic plundering carried out by uniformed men of a nutritional centre, run by a non-governmental organization (NGO), which tends to 50 malnourished children in Kanya, some 200 kilometres away from Goma.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today that looting has continued in North Kivu, even as fighting has subsided. An office of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kirumba, situated north of Goma, has been looted, and civilians in the province are constantly afraid given the insecurity, illegal roadblocks and cases of forced labour.

OCHA also said that there have been 20 cases of sexual violence in the past week.

For its part, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) expressed its mounting concern for the safety of nearly 70,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) taking shelter in camps, where shootings and lootings have been reported, outside Goma.

Early this morning, a 20-year-old woman was shot and killed at the Kibati camp, on the northern outskirts of the capital. Several families were forced to flee their huts, which where then looted by armed men.

“Our team in Kibati is assessing the situation and the needs of the victims,” UNHCR spokesperson William Spindler told reporters in Geneva.

The agency has continually voiced its concern for the safety of some 67,000 IDPs taking refuge in these camps.

“We fear that the civilian population, already in a dramatic and desperate humanitarian situation, could be caught in the crossfire, should fighting resume in the area,” Mr. Spindler said.

The latest report of violence in the Kibati camps today increases the urgency of moving the nearly 70,000 IDPs to the new Mugunga camp, some 15 kilometres from Goma.

“We, together with our partners, have been taking advantage of relative calm in North Kivu this week to step up work on a new camp for up to 30,000 displaced people,” Mr. Spindler noted.

The break in fighting has allowed UNHCR and its partners to start construction on housing blocks and critical infrastructure, such as roads and latrines. Additionally, a water distribution system is being built to supply up to 10,000 people.

The agency spokesperson pointed out that the working conditions are very difficult, with the site lying on hardened lava rock.

He said that the voluntary relocation of IDPs from Kibati will begin as soon as the basic infrastructure is in place. Most people will make the journey by foot, with truck transportation being supplied for young children, the elderly and the infirm.

UNHCR will also bringing in additional aid into North Kivu, with six trucks loaded with relief supplies – including plastic sheeting, kitchen sets, thermal blankets and mosquito having arrived earlier this week from Tanzania.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO) said that nearly 500 cholera cases, including nine deaths, have been reported since 10 November in North Kivu, with most of those affected being IDPs. Steps have been taken to boost access to clean water and improved sanitation.

During the same period, more than 100 measles cases and two deaths have been reported, and a vaccination campaign will kick off next week.

WHO has provided 100 litres of intravenous fluid to restock a cholera treatment centre in Goma, and the agency cites as priority concerns the protection of the uprooted and aid workers, as well as the opening of safe humanitarian corridors.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


Tale Of Two Pandemics: Follow The Science And Do Not Forget One At The Cost Of The Other

Covid-19 has posed innumerable health, economic, and social challenges for all, including people living with HIV. It has exposed the fragility of health systems around the globe and has diverted political attention and funding from other infectious diseases like TB and HIV... More>>


UN: Rights Chief Calls For Prompt Release Of Protestors Held In Cuba
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday called for the prompt release of protestors and journalists detained during anti-government demonstrations in Cuba, some of whom are being held incommunicado... More>>



Scarce Goods: Isolating Daraa Al-Balad Threatens 40,000 With Starvation

The siege imposed by the Syrian government forces on Daraa al-Balad since June 24 would lead to serious humanitarian repercussions if it continues, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a statement on July 15, calling for lifting the siege urgently and allowing the entry of basic humanitarian supplies... More>>


Focus On: UN SDGs



Shaping The Future Of Food Systems: Thousands Commit To Dialogues Amidst The COVID-19 Pandemic

More than 130 governments are making food systems a top priority amid the pandemic and committing to an unprecedented programme of Dialogues in the run up to the UN Food Systems Summit in September... More>>

UN: Play:Fair For People And Planet – A Major United Nations Music Activation
organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign in partnership with Music Innovation Hub, Keychange, the city of Milan, the Milan Triennale, and partners from the SDG Music Network, will be held at an unexpected location in the center of Milan, Italy, taking into account safety measures with a limited on-site audience consisting of activists and fans... More>>


UN: Next 18 Months Seen As Pivotal In Global Efforts To Achieve Key Goals

Next 18 months seen as pivotal in global efforts to reverse punishing pandemic impacts and boost actions to achieve key goals - Even as pandemic erases decades of gains in development, response efforts show signs of renewed global commitment to accelerate SDG progress... More>>