Deploring clashes among opposing factions of the armed forces in the volatile east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the vast country today said that it is fully committed to helping find a peaceful solution to protect civilians from further violence.
The mission, known as MONUC, reported that in North Kivu province, the vehicle of the Commander of the mixed Charlie Brigade was ambushed on Monday, killing at least three people and injuring at least three more soldiers from the DRC armed forces, or FARDC.
“MONUC immediately sent troops on the scene of the incident,” said the mission’s military spokesperson Major Gabriel de Brosses. “The three wounded were transported by blue helmets to the MONUC level 3 hospital in Goma.”
Yesterday in Rubare, a FARDC position of the Charlie Brigade was also attacked by armed men loyal to General Laurent Nkunda.
MONUC serves an informal role of mediator between troops loyal to renegade General Nkunda and Government soldiers in the country’s northeast, the Secretary-General’s spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York.
“The Mission is engaging both sides in dialogue to diffuse the tensions,” she added, and earlier this week MONUC facilitated mediation talks.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), some 170,000 people have fled their homes in North Kivu since this January.
Meanwhile, MONUC reported that as of yesterday, all national staff who participated in a recent work stoppage have fully resumed their work. Discussions between mission leadership and representatives of national staff are now ongoing.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for the DRC William Lacy Swing reaffirmed his commitment to finding a comprehensive solution, adding that the national staff represent one of MONUC’s key assets. He appealed to them to continue their work as the negotiations proceed.
MONUC has overseen the DRC’s transition from a six-year civil war that cost 4 million lives in fighting and attendant hunger and disease, widely considered the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II, to gradual stabilization, culminating in the first democratic elections in over four decades last year.