JULY 20, 2010: MONUSCO sets up temporary operating bases in Beni, North Kivu

MONUSCO sets up temporary operating bases in Beni, North Kivu

SOURCE: United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO)

Beni, 20 July 2010 - MONUSCO has established a temporary operating base (TOB) and is planning to set up another one in the area affected by the military operations being conducted by the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC). This deployment will increase access and assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and surrounding villages. It will also provide a relay for protection missions.

The announcement was made on the 14th of July in Beni by the Commander of North Kivu Brigade during a meeting between a MONUSCO delegation, humanitarian agency representatives, the commander of the FARDC 8th Military Region, and Civil Society representatives. The TOB, whose role is to ensure the safety of the population and to conduct patrols are established in response to local civil society's July 7th request calling for for MONUSCO to deploy UN peacekeepers to protect the population living in areas cleared of Ugandan ADF/NALU rebels by the FARDC's Ruwenzory operations ongoing since June 25th.

The Commander of MONUSCO North Kivu Brigade, General Ajae KUMAR Sharma, said the Rwenzori operations independently conducted by the FARDC have had an impact on the humanitarian and security conditions of civilians. He said the TOB deployment in this volatile region will reassure the civilian population and reinforce the security situation.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the number of IDPs fleeing the combat zones in North Kivu has risen from about 40,000 to 60,000 over the past weekend, with at least 55,500 taking refuge in the locality of Oïcha, 2,600 in Mbau and 1,050 in Mbahuli. The civil society representative in Beni said that the IDPs fled the insecurity caused by both the FARDC military operations and the constant threats to the civilian population posed by ADF/NALU rebels. OCHA also emphasized the need for urgent deployment of UN peacekeepers along the Mwenda- Mutwanga- Mwalika and Eringeti-Mamundjioma road axes.

To date, a TOB has been established at Eringeti and a second one will soon be operational at Mutwanga - a development seen as a welcome one by OCHA. "We humanitarian workers are very pleased with the deployment of these TOB in the area," said Mauricio Giuliano, a spokesman for OCHA. " We are confident that this will help enhance the protection of civilians and minimize the impact of the Ruwenzori operations on the population. So we look forward to very close cooperation with the Congolese government and with MONUSCO in this domain," he added.

URL Address: http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/rwb.nsf/db900SID/EGUA-87LP4R?OpenDocument