“MONUSCO has no hidden agenda”!
The statement was made by the chief of MONUSCO-Uvira interim sub-office in a special press briefing held on Monday 26 September at the UN Mission/Uvira headquarters in response to the persisting rumors that the Mission was illegally smuggling weapons into this South-Kivu territory.
Uvira, 26 September 2016 – “Such unfounded rumors should stop for MONUSCO has nothing to hide”. With these words, Armand Forster, Chief of MONUSCO Interim Sub-Office-Uvira opened the special press briefing. Visibly exasperated by the persisting rumors that MONUSCO was smuggling weapons and ammunitions into Uvira and giving shelter to so-called mercenaries and politicians, Armand Forster made it clear: “MONUSCO is in the DRC in response to the Congolese government officials’ invitation. Congolese government’s officials are aware of everything we do.” He further denounced those spreading such rumors against MONUSCO. He however acknowledges some minor communication weaknesses in the command chain, highlighting “we have no hidden agenda. The weapons in question belong to contingents and all the authorities of the different countries the weapons and ammunition go through are aware of the routine movements: Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda… and the DRC.” Recalling Media’s role, he invited media professionals to assist the population in sorting the wheat from the chaff, to avoid such confusions.
The unfounded rumors targets each MONUSCO Peace-keepers’ rotation. MONUSCO therefore seized this opportunity to make it clear that the United Nations does not have their own weapons, but deployed contingents bring along their military gears and equipment. This happens in the full knowledge of the different authorities: nationals, provincials and locals. Such rumors may spread further trauma among the population, already traumatized by successive wars and the presence of the countless armed groups.
Texte et Photos: Jean-Tobie OKALA/MONUSCO