DRC: Bintou Keita reiterates MONUSCO's determination to support the stabilization of Ituri
“To heal the wounds for everyone and for all the communities in Ituri, it is of paramount importance that trust be established between all the actors involved in the fight against the enemies of peace. This statement was made by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bintou Keita, in Bunia, Ituri province, on Thursday.
In a meeting with the Provincial Security Committee in Bunia, the Chief of MONUSCO was optimistic about the security situation in this DRC’s province. "With the help of the Force, with the political will at the central, provincial and local governments’ levels on the one hand, and on the other hand, the determination shown by all the partners including the United Nations, MONUSCO as well as bilateral and multilateral partners, it would be possible to do things in a different way,” she declared.
Acting in a different way to defeat the armed groups in this volatile province in eastern DRC is also the expectation of the populations. They are hopeful that with the new MONUSCO leadership, changes would be effective in terms of the restoration of the state authority and the pacification of the province.
“The pacification of Ituri is what we expect from the Chief of MONUSCO. If we could have peace, if our province could be pacified, that would be enough. We are tired of living amid continued insecurity, and it is becoming more and more worrying. It’s as if Ituri was abandoned,” said Claudine Nzeni Murumiyo, resident of Bunia.
Acknowledging the importance of MONUSCO in the province, Alphonse Likana, Journalist in Bunia wishes to see Mission’s activities be further explained to the populations through awareness-raising, which would dispel any confusion in their minds and help them make the distinction between rumors and reality over the exact role and presence of MONUSCO.
“The people of Ituri expect from the new Special Representative a real change that will bring new hope. The people need MONUSCO here in Ituri to help us put an end to insecurity. MONUSCO is often accused of failing to reach out to some hotspots in the Province and even in the country. With her, we hope MONUSCO would deploy wherever there is insecurity. We are waiting to see the effectiveness of the peacekeepers in our province, in all the hotspots of Ituri,” said Alphonse Likana.
The enemies of the United Nations are also the enemies of the DRC
For his part, the Governor of Ituri Province, Jean Bamanissa came forward against the "spoilers", who spread false rumors over MONUSCO’s presence, and not serving the cause of peace. He condemned the rumors that MONUSCO’s helicopters are used to supply armed groups.
"Rest assured, you should know that the helicopters are loaded, when they take off, all the Congolese intelligence services are present at the airport ... The United Nations troops are busy bracing themselves in anticipation for the insecurity, they are training for evacuations or for interventions at night or during the day; they don't wait for problems to happen, they are preparing themselves. We want everything to go smoothly. We have security services there who have never reported or shown us anything illegal, boarded on MONUSCO helicopters,” he told the press in Bunia.
Jean Bamanissa went on to say: “You should be aware that the enemies of the United Nations are also the enemies of the DRC. When you have messages alleging that MONUSCO helicopters have dropped people off at a given location, you may notice that it is well timed in regard to the actions taking place there. Those people know who are working for the destabilization of the country and the province; yet, they don't want to see the population, the Government and the United Nations work in harmony”.
The Province of Ituri is home to many local and foreign armed groups, including the ADF (Allied Defense Forces). MONUSCO has established its military bases there, namely in Fataki, Roe, Djugu, Bogoro, Amee. Day and night, the peacekeepers organize pedestrian and motorized patrols to protect civilian populations. They would not hesitate to intervene directly to drive militiamen out of a locality. Furthermore, they evacuate the FARDC troops wounded in combat and wounded civilians whose lives are in danger ...
In Bunia, Bintou Keita also met with members of civil society organizations, local communities as well as the United Nations personnel.