Global perspective Human stories

DR Congo: militias must go, but security forces need discipline, says UN envoy

DR Congo: militias must go, but security forces need discipline, says UN envoy

Special Representative for the DRC Alan Doss (left) in North Kivu province
In order to end the sexual violence plaguing the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), it is necessary to stop the activity of armed groups but also to ensure security forces have strong discipline, the top United Nations envoy there said today.

Responding to a group of women victims of such violence as he continued to assess the humanitarian situation in North Kivu province, Alan Doss, Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the DRC, voiced the need to “put an end to the presence of armed groups, but also to put discipline into the heart of security forces.”

The Security Council has asked the UN mission in the DRC (MONUC) to prioritize the stabilization of the eastern provinces and the protection of civilians there.

Fierce fighting of recent months, involving various militia groups and the national army (FARDC), has displaced some 250,000 civilians on top of 800,000 uprooted in earlier violence.

During his travels today, Mr. Doss visited the town of Kanyabayonga, where he met with military and administrative officials as well as civil society groups.

Those groups underlined the continuing threat of the ethnic Hutu militia known as the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), which has been the target of a joint military operation conducted by Rwanda and the DRC.

Among other concerns, they described the situation in the neighbouring village of Luofo, where some 15,000 person have fled after several other localities were attacked just last week by the FDLR.

In response, Mr. Doss pledged that “MONUC will reinforce its presence in localities and continue to logistically support the FARDC in its operations against the FDLR.”

Mr. Doss also visited the nearby city of Beni, promising to support the establishment of a school in a pygmy community and inaugurating a health centre for police and their families, part of the national plan to stabilize the eastern DRC approved last month.

On his return to North Kivu’s capital, Goma, Mr. Doss attended a meeting of humanitarian agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), where he responded to security concerns by noting that MONUC was ready to reinforce patrols on crucial roadways.

MONUC was originally set up in 1999 to help enforce a ceasefire in the DRC following a devastating multi-party civil war that cost four million lives.