State of siege: MONUSCO determined to support DRC security forces
While the Congolese Head of state, Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi, has declared a state of siege in the Ituri and North-Kivu provinces, MONUSCO remains prepared to back the security forces of the DRC, in accordance with its mandate as laid out in the UN Security Council Resolution 2556.
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General in the DRC, Bintou Keita, made this statement during her visit from May 10 to 14, 2021 in Goma, the capital city of North-Kivu.
During this mission, the chief of MONUSCO held for the first time a working session with the new Military Governor, Lieutenant-General Constant Ndima Kongba, in the presence of the Vice-Governor, Divisional Commissioner Ekuka Lipopo.
She was accompanied by the Deputy Special Representative in charge of protection and operations, Khassim Diagne, the Interim Force Commander, Major General Thierry Lion, as well as the heads of field offices in Goma and Beni.
At the end of the discussions, which focused on the clarification of responsibilities between the two parties as well as the accompanying measures during this period of the state of siege, Ms. Keita reiterated to the press, the United Nations’ determination to support the Congolese armed forces, in accordance with its mandate.
“I have understood and I have watched with great attention how the declaration on the state of siege was received. It seems there is a renewed hope, and we believe with all the efforts that will be made, including with the confidence and contribution of the population, we will arrive at an improved situation compared to the 'insecurity,' she said.
After the meeting with the new provincial authorities, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC met with members of the Baraza La Wazee, a civil society platform in North Kivu, at MONUSCO headquarters.
Discussions focused on the projects framed by this platform, in partnership with MONUSCO and the provincial authorities, including the recent inter-community consultations in the territories of Nyiragongo and Masisi, to strengthen social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.
Bintou Keita wanted to enquire about the experience of this community structure in the peaceful resolution of the conflicts related to peaceful cohabitation between the different communities in the province.
On this occasion, the head of MONUSCO reiterated the effective involvement of MONUSCO in the pacification process initiated by the Congolese authorities in the east of the country, in particular by supporting the state of siege.
The Baraza La Wazee of North Kivu also wished to see the mission supporting community DDR, in preparation in this part of the country.
“We want [the Special Representative] to deliver on everything she has promised (…), we want to see the results on the ground (…) In relation to the state of siege, there is the DDRC program, which will bring together the young people from the armed groups. We are keen to see MONUSCO support the Government in monitoring the situation of those who will surrender,” explained Tussi Bikanaba Déogratias, member of the Inter-community Barza in North Kivu.
The Baraza La Wazee of North Kivu took the opportunity to request Bintou Keita’s mediation with their partner, the Congolese government, to help address, as quickly as possible, the other cause of the insecurity in North Kivu, namely: the installation of traditional chiefs invested with traditional powers without real consultations.
This organization’s representatives also wished to see more awareness-raising workshops with civil society, to better explain the role of MONUSCO.
The Special Representative’s mission ended in Sake, located 27 km west of Goma, in Masisi territory.
On site, Bintou Keita participated in a workshop for the awareness-raising of women community leaders and their roles in reducing insecurity and violence through the early warning system and information networks in this territory.
Bintou Keita also interacted with young people from the Uhuru Knowloge Center association. This associative structure carries out activities on the promotion of peace through culture and art.