Two SADC Delegations Visit Goma to Assess the Implementation of the International Neutral Force
Goma, 11 February 2013 – Following the deferment of the signing of the Framework Agreement on the future deployment of the joint UN and African Union International Neutral Force last week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, several civil society activists in Nord Kivu had voiced pessimistic views about the future of such a Force.
It is important to recall that the entire Congolese population especially in Nord Kivu had greeted the announcement of this deferment with anger, expressing their frustrations on what they perceived to be an abandonment of the Peace Process in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by the international community. As justification for this decision, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) delegates meeting in the Ethiopian capital expressed the need for an in-depth study of the document received from the UN Secretary-General.
Since then, the process appears to have been given fresh impetus, notably with the arrival of two SADC delegations this week in Goma, the Nord Kivu provincial capital. The first delegation comprising of a dozen civilian and police delegates arrived the DRC on Thursday, 7 February, while the second flew in on Saturday, 9 February, and is a team of military generals led by Lieutenant General V.R. Masondo from South Africa.
According to Haretsebe Mahosi, Chief of the police and civilian component of the SADC, the purpose of their visit is to "evaluate the security and humanitarian situation in the city of Goma and its surroundings". To this end therefore, the team of police officers met the leadership of MONUSCO and held working sessions with local political leaders and police authorities. The SADC police delegates also visited the Mugunga III internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp prior to a meeting with United Nations agencies and humanitarian organizations.
The military delegation flew in from Dar es Salam in Tanzania where they had been attending a two-day SADC meeting. They were received by the Deputy Force Commander of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), General Adrien Foster. During their mission, which is expected to last several days, the military officers will conduct a reconnaissance mission and assess the feasibility and technical implementation of the future Force.
The international community, led by MONUSCO is pursuing its efforts to help find a lasting solution to security concerns in eastern DRC.
Alexandre Essome/ MONUSCO