Ituri: Upcoming Close-down of MONUSCO Military Base in Gina, the territory of Djugu

“We would have liked MONUSCO to stay here in Gina, to continue to protect us", said the traditional chief.

27 Jan 2022

Ituri: Upcoming Close-down of MONUSCO Military Base in Gina, the territory of Djugu

Jean-Tobie Okala

January 28, 2022: It is the date chosen by MONUSCO to definitively close its military base in Gina, roughly forty kilometers from Bunia in the territory of Djugu, plagued by armed groups’ activism. Established on October 23, 2021, the main objective of this temporary base was to secure the rehabilitation work on the 45-km long road section between Fataki and Gina by the UN Mission’s Nepalese engineering company along the national road 27. Due to the poor condition of this roadway, many ambushes were frequently set by assailants against the users of the road. As part of the protection of civilians and in agreement with the provincial authorities who made it one of their priorities, MONUSCO has repaired this road section which now allows vehicles and motorcyclists to travel in acceptable conditions. With fewer quagmires and risks of vehicles getting stuck, users will be less exposed to attacks. This rehabilitated road will also allow people to increase their trade with other territories by selling their products more easily. 

First and foremost, thank you very much to MONUSCO for this action which will prevent convoys from being blocked by the attackers. The refurbished road is critical for everyone. Though it is not perfect, MONUSCO’s action has been applauded by the population. Before, trucks would overturn every now and then, because of the bad state of the road; passengers were constantly under threat from militiamen. Thanks to this road, partially rebuilt by MONUSCO, cars and motorbikes can now ride safely and as a result, the populations will be less exposed to attacks by armed groups,” said Innocent Malo, the secretary of the Jacondahora-Gina group. 

This traditional chief further said, the local population are not happy with MONUSCO’s exit from this locality; they have requested that its military base remain in. Innocent Malo explained that MONUSCO peacekeepers’ presence reassures his people, especially the internally displaced persons who will feel “totally insecure”: “We would have liked MONUSCO to stay here in Gina, to continue to protect us. The population want MONUSCO to stay with us and to continue to help the internally displaced who are estimated at more than 30,000 and scattered across the six villages in the grouping. Without MONUSCO, life will be unbearable here for the displaced persons who will feel in total insecurity. The insufficient strength of the FARDC was compensated by MONUSCO’s presence. The Mission’s presence indeed reassures us, but with MONUSCO’s departure, I do confess Gina will be in total insecurity; the population - in particular, the displaced persons - are really worried". 

MONUSCO Force, for their part, will make sure that "the populations of Gina, especially the displaced persons who are part of the vulnerable sections in the community are not abandoned", explained a UN Force officer in Ituri, further indicating, "with the new doctrine of “protection by projection”, we will always be ready to intervene if necessary from our other bases located in the region”. MONUSCO urged the population to continue to collaborate with all the security and defense forces there.