Fight against criminality in Bunia: Roughly a hundred solar panels installed by MONUSCO

Fight against criminality in Bunia: Roughly a hundred solar panels installed by MONUSCO. Photo MONUSCO / Jean-Tobie Okala

29 Jun 2021

Fight against criminality in Bunia: Roughly a hundred solar panels installed by MONUSCO

Jean-Tobie Okala

With funding from MONUSCO to the tune of $132,000, one hundred and four solar panels have been installed in Bunia, Ituri, to fight criminality in this town where acts of burglary and other criminal acts are often reported, due to lack of public lighting. First on the Kopox-Grand Marché road section, in Lumumba district, in the municipality of Mbunya, where the first fifty-two solar panels were installed by a local company. 

Fifty-two other signs have also been installed along the road from Capa roundabout to the general referral hospital in Bunia. It is the vice-governor of Ituri, General Benjamin Alongabony, who cut the symbolic ribbon on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. These public lighting projects, in this city home to some 2 million inhabitants, is part of the support for the Stabilization of eastern DRC and the protection of civilians. 

"We actually feel safe now" 

A saleswoman at Kopox market, Irene Mapenzi said she was relieved by the installation of public lighting around her workplace. "Here, before, the Shegues (street gang children) used to threaten us a lot during the night. From 5:30 p.m. at night there was no way to pass by. It was terrible with these children. They were stealing, physically assaulting passers-by, snatching our packages, because they were taking advantage of the dark,” she said. 

Irene Mapenzi says the lighting has reduced the number of thefts and assaults: “It feels really safe now. We can now return home from the market at any time. Being afraid of the light, they no longer attack people. Thank you very much MONUSCO for this project which is helping us to live in safety”. 

The public lighting would also facilitate the movement of patients to medical facilities during late hours. It was quite a challenge for the community before, fearing for the safety of their members. 

Community Violence Reduction 

These projects are part of the efforts for the reduction of community violence (CVR). They aim to promote peaceful coexistence between different communities and to strengthen social cohesion, particularly targeting ex-combatants, women and young people at risk. 

The aim of these projects is to find an occupation for these vulnerable sections of the population and thus prevent some from heeding to the calls from armed groups. MONUSCO intends to launch two more in the coming weeks: in Fataki and in Djugu-center, the territory of Djugu.