Armed Mutiny Worsens Security Situation in Congo

Armed mutiny has worsened the security situation and massive displacement of civilians in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Reports say that the armed mutiny that erupted in April has destabilized the Kivus and the region and increases the general threat to millions of civilians.

A senior United Nations official today stressed to the Security Council the need to end the mutiny as soon as possible for multiple of reasons.

Peacekeepers in armoured vehicles from the UN’s mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), MONUSCO, are deployed to the town of Bunagana where heavy gun fights between Government FARDC forces and insurgent groups have pushed residents to flee toward the Ugandan border. UN Photo/Sylvain Liechti

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC (MONUSCO), Roger Meece notes end of mutiny would permit the return home of large numbers of displaced civilians, resumption of coordinated efforts targeting armed groups in area, and the resumption of stabilization and economic development programmes.

In his briefing to the Council, Mr. Meece said that MONUSCO has credible information regarding killings on a significant scale and other serious crimes committed in the Kivus, including rape and other forms of sexual violence. The fighting has also greatly limited humanitarian access through the region.

The UN mission has deployed peacekeepers and stepped up operations throughout the affected area, Mr. Meece reported.

He notes that the Mission’s resources have been stretched to the limits attempting to cover developing hot spots, and the overall situation in North Kivu has been deteriorating.

“The people of eastern Congo have already suffered too much and for too long, and any actions that prolong violence and armed conflict in the region must stop.” – Mr. Meece

He also notes that the brutal LRA actions continue to provoke enormous fear throughout the region where they operate.

Earlier this month, the United States of America expressed alarm and concern on the continued mutiny of officers and soldiers formerly integrated into the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Reports say the mutineers, known as the March 23 movement, are former Congolese Tutsi rebels who joined the army under a March 2009 peace deal but defected earlier this year.

The United States also reiterated its support for the international community’s comprehensive approach to disarming and demobilizing the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a violent armed group responsible for atrocities against civilians in the DRC’s eastern provinces and whose leaders participated in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

The United States encourages the DRC, its neighbors, and its partners to work together to prevent M23, the FDLR, and all other armed groups from receiving outside support in contravention of the UN Security Council’s arms embargo on non-governmental entities and individuals operating in the DRC.

The United States also strongly supports the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the DRC, MONUSCO, in particular its active efforts to assist the Congolese government in protecting civilians displaced or threatened by clashes between government forces and armed groups.

On May this year, fighting has resumed in eastern DRC in recent weeks between Government forces, dissident groups and militia, causing new inflows of refugees enter Rwanda and Uganda.

Reports say 30,000 refugees have arrived in Uganda this month. In addition, Uganda was already host to 175,127 refugees, including 97,424 from DRC.

The top United Nations refugee official voiced alarm at new inflows of refugees into Rwanda and Uganda who are fleeing fighting in eastern Congo.

According to UNHCR, more than 8,200 refugees have crossed from DRC into Rwanda since 27 April. These are in addition to the 55,000 Congolese refugees that Rwanda is already hosting.

The conflict was coupled with very limited access for humanitarian workers means that many thousands of people are without protection and help.

Reports also states that the recent Congo has caused suffering for civilians who are experiencing displacement, human rights violations, and loss of property.

UNHCR notes that the situation has worsened in recent months amid recent fighting between DRC forces and soldiers loyal to former rebel commander Bosco Ntaganda.

On January this year, a fresh violence erupted in eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), displacing more than 100,000 civilians the provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu.

The clashes are reported to have begun in November last year.

There were an estimated 1.7 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as of July 2011, the vast majority of them in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. This included over 128,000 people newly displaced in the first quarter of 2011.

A peace agreement in 2003 formally brought years of war to a close, but fighting flared again in North Kivu that same year. An estimated 1.3 million IDPs remain in the DRC, while 350,000 Congolese have fled to other countries.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.