ITURI: War-displaced persons plead for enhanced MONUSCO’s Presence
War-displaced persons in the Roe and Drodro sites, Chiefdom of Bahema-Nord in the territory of Djugu, Ituri province have pleaded for increased MONUSCO peacekeepers’ number in this region where armed groups are very active.
They made this plea last December 17, during the visit of the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, to this part of the territory.
Désiré Bahemuka, representative of the internally displaced persons from the Roe and Drodro sites in the Djugu territory, said the seventy thousand displaced persons or so who are living in the two sites still have "hope for life", with the presence of the UN peacekeepers who patrol the area every day to protect civilians.
“In our view, MONUSCO should remain, because CODECO militia have not yet laid down weapons. We were asked during this visit what we think of MONUSCO’s departure from Djugu territory. We are opposed. As long as this militia has not laid down weapons, we will be opposed to MONUSCO’s departure from the area. We believe, as in the chiefdom of Bahema-Nord, had it not been for MONUSCO’s presence, we would have been exterminated, it is thanks to MONUSCO that we are still here in Roe and in Drodro”, said Désiré Bahemuka.
There are many local armed groups in Ituri, which the ADF rebels have joined in recent months. The insecurity caused by these armed groups has caused the displacement of more than 1.7 million people.
During his brief visit to Ituri on December 17, 2020, Jean-Pierre Lacroix visited Roe to see for himself the level of the implementation of MONUSCO's mandate regarding its civilians’ protection component. Here, in addition to the safe-drinking water supplied by MONUSCO to the displaced persons, UN peacekeepers organize daily security patrols around the displaced persons' camp. As a result, many militia's attacks have been deterred, thanks to MONUSCO ‘s presence.
Furthermore, the Mission organizes professional training (in plumbing, electricity, cell phone repair, basic IT, etc.), for the benefit of the displaced persons in these camps.