Deadly attack Aug 12th by armed militiamen in a mine-rich area of east of DR Congo
UN blue helmets provide help in wake of deadly attack in east of DR Congo
The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is providing medical assistance to the victims of a deadly attack by armed militiamen in a mine-rich area in the strife-torn east of the country.(Hat tip: ISRIA)- - -
Media reports say at least 16 people were killed during Wednesday's attack, which took place in the remote village of Mpama in North Kivu province, close to the mines at Biseye. Mining is a lucrative source of income in the impoverished region, which continues to be beset by outbreaks of fighting involving militia groups and the army.
Troops from the Congolese army (FARDC) stationed nearby were dispatched to find the militiamen, but they had already fled, according to a press statement issued today by the UN peacekeeping mission, known as MONUC.
Alan Doss, the head of MONUC and the Secretary-General's Special Representative to the DRC, denounced the attack.
“Nothing can justify these crimes committed by the armed groups that strike at civilians,” Mr. Doss said.
MONUC established a medical assistance team in the nearby town of Ishenga to treat the injured, with some others evacuated to other centres. The blue helmets have also stepped up their patrols in the Walikale-Biseye area.
From MONUC Kinshasa, Friday, 14 August 2009:
MONUC Blue Helmets keeping the peace in Orientale province
MONUC’s Blue Helmets, stationed in Orientale province in northeastern DRC continue to work hard in the troubled districts of Haut Uele and Ituri, to keep the peace, protect the population and assist the DRC Armed Forces against the activities of the LRA rebels in Haut Uele and residual armed groups in Ituri.
In Haut Uele, the MONUC Moroccan contingent, comprising of 290 Blue Helmets, are working in the areas of Dungu, Duru and Faradje to protect the civilian population. These peacekeepers live in tents in the middle of the jungle with no infrastructure, in what MONUC Military Spokesman Jean Paul Dietrich described as “the most difficult living conditions in the mission.”
Other tasks include patrols and the escorting of humanitarian food convoys, up to a 50km radius outside of Dungu.
Through Operation Rudia II, MONUC is providing assistance to a large part of the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) based in Dungu territory, with rations, transport and medical evacuations.
A MONUC Indonesian engineering company is currently working on the Dungu-Duru road, and once completed it will greatly improve the transport network in the area.
It will also allow humanitarian convoys greater access to the interior, where an estimated 181,000 people are displaced and in need of assistance due to the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.
In the past week, the LRA have launched new sporadic attacks in areas close to the Central African Republic border, in an apparent attempt to escape the military pressure being exerted on them.
In Ituri, over 3,500 Blue Helmets are working to pacify the district, which has experienced residual militia activity by groups such as the “Front de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri” (FRPI) and the “Front Populaire pour la Justice au Congo” (FPJC). According to OCHA, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an estimated 176,000 people are still displaced in the district.
The joint operation “Iron Stone” is currently in progress, with MONUC forces assisting the FARDC in the planning of military operations. MONUC is also assisting the FARDC with rations, transport, fire support and medical evacuations.
In the past week, the FARDC have attacked militia position in the Poto Poto valley, and are still engaged in the consolidation of operations in the south of Irumu territory. In recent joint operations against the FRPI and the FPJC, 11 militiamen were killed and many others fled.