With the aim to topple down the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army’s (LRA), the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) continues to maintain robust military approach against the Ugandan rebel group.
UN peacekeepers play vital role in tackling the LRA which operating around the border area of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous today stresses that the Blue Helmets have been offering military escorts to merchants transporting their goods to markets as well as to churchgoers.
The Blue helmets patrol in and around villages and towns where LRA presence was signalled. The MONUSCO has maintained a level of security and saved lives in recent years.
After a lull in LRA raids in the second half of last year that resulted in improved security in the north-eastern province, new attacks on civilians have been reported during the past few weeks in the DRC’s territories of Dungu, Faradje, Watsa, Niangara, Bondo and Ango.
The most recent attacks took place in the village of Bagulupa, 55 kilometres east of Dungu. The village was attacked on 10 February and again on 24 February, forcing most of the residents to flee on foot towards Dungu, the main town in Haut Uele district.
Mr. Ladsous said protection of civilians is the major focus of the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), especially across the vast mountain areas of the east, and its peacekeepers use a range of strategies.
Its “blue helmets” work with the Congolese armed forces in leading military operations against the LRA and other armed groups.
Coordinated pressure by the national armies of CAR, DRC, South Sudan and Uganda is further weakening the LRA, Mr. Ladsous said.
He adds that a group of US military advisors was deployed recently and they are providing support to the regional armies.
Beyond MONUSCO’s role in protecting civilians in the DRC, the United Nations is strongly supporting the efforts led by the African Union and the affected countries to counter the LRA threat and bring its leaders, including Joseph Kony and others indicted by the International Criminal Court, to justice.
Attacks by the LRA, which originated in Uganda, have intensified since January 2011 in DRC’s Orientale province, where some 35 people have been killed, 104 others abducted and an estimated 17,000 displaced.
LRA attacks are causing one of Africa’s biggest population displacements.
LRA-related violence is seriously hampering humanitarian work in the province as well.
The LRA has emerged in northern Uganda in the late 1990s. Reports say the group have killed, kidnapped and mutilated tens of thousands of people in a reign of terror across some of Africa’s most remote and hostile terrain.