Khassim Diagne in Tchabi: "The hunt down of the ADF will now take a new turn with the arrival of additional FIB forces"
In response to the violence from armed groups in the Tchabi and Boga areas, roughly 120 km from Bunia, in Irumu territory, Ituri province, Khassim Diagne, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in DRC, in charge of operations and protection, announced Thursday, June 17, 2021 that the hunt down of ADF will take a new turn with the imminent arrival of additional forces to join MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).
“As you know, there is already a plan for the deployment of the Force Intervention Brigade. Nepalese, South African and Kenyan troops are expected any time soon, and the Tanzanian troops are already there ... With all this military support, not to mention the civilians’, I believe we shall defeat this enemy” , said the deputy head of MONUSCO.
Mr. Diagne was, on June 16 and 17, 2021, on "a visit to this province to show compassion and solidarity" to the population where local armed groups (Codeco, Fpic, Maï-Maï ...) and foreign armed groups (ADF and FDLR) have been exacting untold suffering to the civilian populations daily. He wrapped up his visit at Tchabi where he met with the new MONUSCO Force Commander, General Marcos Da Costa.
“We will craft an operational plan to support the FARDC to defeat the ADF enemy. MONUSCO is working hand in hand and with determination with the authorities to help the DRC pull out of this problem, ”Khassim Diagne assured.
The Deputy Special Representative acknowledges "it will be a long-term battle" as "MONUSCO and the Congolese army are facing a mobile enemy, who are constantly moving, indeed an invisible enemy". However, he reaffirms "MONUSCO's determination to support the Congo to defeat this enemy".
"Without MONUSCO, we don't know where we could be now ..."
An announcement made by the main beneficiaries, in particular the civilian population and the displaced, who say that armed men identified as ADF rebels continue to threaten the stability of the region.
Sebatuare Abanze, leader of the displaced persons at the Busio site, 12 km from Tchabi, home to 900 families, said he appreciated the work done by MONUSCO peacekeepers who protect them against the said rebels. “If MONUSCO hadn't been here, we don't know where we could be. MONUSCO patrols and when they arrive the rebels flee. MONUSCO is very helpful to us,” he explained.
Khassim Diagne also called on members of different communities to become actively involved in preserving peace, by learning how to settle their differences peacefully. “Get together around a table, to solve your problems, list those that that divide you. But if you flaunt the issues that divide you, it won't work. We also ask communities to cooperate with the Congolese authorities (…). Communities must cooperate with the security forces and denounce those who wish to divide them,” he concluded.
Violent fights against Codeco
Since June 12, 2021, heavy fighting has pitted the army against Codeco rebels in Fataki-center, 85 km from Bunia, in Djugu territory resulting in the massive displacement of the populations some of whom seeking refuge at MONUSCO military base in Djaiba.
During the night of May 30 to 31, around fifty civilians were massacred by assailants identified as ADF in Boga and Tchabi.
On May 6, the Head of State declared a state of siege to put an end to such indiscriminate violence which until now has mainly targeted civilian populations and their properties, but recently basic infrastructures such as hospitals and schools were also targeted.
In addition to the daily patrols carried out by the Mission's peacekeepers in support of the FARDC, information shared with the army and the multifaceted logistical support provided to the latter, Khassim Diagne believes the reinforcement of peacekeepers’ presence in Tchabi could help the police better fight the armed groups in the region.