The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today called for United Nations peacekeepers to be given a clear mandate and the resources necessary to impose peace by force if necessary on a rebel group that is the sole holdout on a disengagement plan in the east of the vast country.
“Confronted by the drama occurring in the east of the Congo, MONUC must be authorized to act, and can act in a convincing manner,” DRC Permanent Representative Ileka Atoki told the General Assembly as it began the second week of its General Debate, referring to the to the UN mission in the DRC by its acronym.
“It is our belief that there can be no more legitimate use of force, nor any more opportune exercise of UN moral authority,” he said, calling on the Security Council to take action against the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP). “The credibility of the UN and its peacekeeping operations – and the one in the DRC is by far the most important – are at stake.”
Ten days ago MONUC forces, backed by combat helicopters, opened fire on CNDP elements in North Kivu province after the rebels made several offensive moves towards Masisi, 60 kilometres north of the provincial capital Goma, forcing them to withdraw. The next day the Mission called for an immediate ceasefire as new clashes broke out between the DRC army and the rebels.
“Humanity at large cannot understand – and the Congolese people even less – that in the face of legitimate leaders freely chosen by the people and enjoying international recognition, some are allowed indefinitely to maintain an insurrectional attitude than entails to a massive degree the rape of women and the loss of human lives,” Mr. Atoki said.