DRC – The head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) today deplored the death of two civilians killed in demonstrations in Goma, the main city in the vast country’s strife-torn eastern region, and has called for an inquiry into the incident.
MONUSCO chief Martin Kobler, in a statement issued by a mission spokesperson, deplored the killing of the demonstrators and announced a joint investigation that will be carried out by the DRC Police (PNC) and the mission’s Police Cell, UNPOL.
In the meantime, the Mission reports that fighting continues between DR Congo national forces (FARDC) and the M23 rebels. MONUSCO forces continue to support the efforts of FARDC with all the means at its disposal.
According to the Mission, during the fighting mortar shells fired from M23 positions landed in MONUSCO positions in Munigi village, injuring three Peacekeepers.
Condemning the attack in the strongest terms, Mr. Kobler emphasized: “No act of this nature by the M23 will be tolerated and any attack on the civil population and the United Nations constitutes a war crime.”
During his first visit to the North Kivu province of the DRC earlier this week, Mr. Kobler reiterated the determination of the United Nations to help restore State authority in the eastern region of the vast country.
“I shall do everything in my power to address the armed groups’ issue in the Kivus and in the rest of the eastern DRC,” he said.
In Goma, Mr. Kobler met with provincial administrative and security authorities, as well as UN military and civilian staff, to assess the situation on the ground. During his meetings, he also made clear his determination to see the UN Mission resolve the issue of armed groups, help restore State authority and fulfil its mandate.
Over the past year, the M23, along with other armed groups, have clashed repeatedly with the national forces (FARDC) in the eastern DRC. The rebels briefly occupied Goma in November 2012. The fighting resumed in recent weeks, this time dragging in a group of Ugandan-based rebels, and displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating the region’s ongoing humanitarian crisis, which includes 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.