Operation « Protection Shield » underway
Kinshasa, 23 November 2010 -An operation code named "Protection Shield" has been launched by MONUSCO in the Minembwe, Fizi and Uvira areas in South Kivu Province. The operation is informed by the increased activities of a number of armed groups, including the FRF and FDLR which have been harassing the local population, humanitarian organizations and had even clashed with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, FARDC.
"Protection Shield" is a three-pronged operation involving ground, air and Special Forces and draws troops from many contributing national contingents. It also involves active patrolling of Lake Tanganyika to prevent support lines through the eastern waterways to the armed groups, among which are the Front Nationale de la Liberation (FNL) of Burundi. Globally 900 troops are participating in the operation.
The aim is to neutralise the armed groups and reinforce security for the population and MONUSCO hopes to accomplish this by the deployment of six temporary operation bases that are being supported by a number of Special Forces in the South Kivu area.
When completed "Protection Shield" is expected to create favourable conditions for the return of IDPs, reinforce mutual confidence with the government authorities and the FARDC and prevent the infiltration and support to the groups from Lake Tanganyika.
The operation is being fully coordinated with the FARDC.