Operation “Silent Valley” in Walikale Territory: A Success Story
Photo: Indian Battalion, Goma/ MONUSCO
Goma, 23 August 2011 – Only days after the launching of Operation 'Silent Valley' on 17 August by peacekeepers of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), dozens of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Walikale territory, Nord-Kivu Province, returned to their homes in Mutongo and Lukweti.
Operation 'Silent Valley' was launched to provide security to the people of Mutongo and Lukweti, both towns located in the Walikale territory, 150 km west of Goma, the provincial capital. 'Silent Valley' was at the heels of two other operations conducted on 3 and 4 August respectively, in the Lukweti sector.
This operation started off with daytime patrols by the Indian Peacekeepers based in the area and they were supported by three helicopters. The next step of the operation saw them meeting with staff of MONUSCO's Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration and Resettlement (DDRRR) program with whom they held detailed discussions about the operation. Finally, they met with and informed the IDPs about the measures put in place by MONUSCO to ensure their security. As part of these measures, a unit of South African peacekeepers was deployed in the area to facilitate humanitarian access to the IDPs.
The displacement of these people was the result of fighting between elements of the Cheka and Janvier-led armed groups, two rival Mai Mai factions in the area that had been vying for control over this part of the territory and an area which had long been besieged by rebels of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).