The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo has begun reinforcing its troops in North Kivu and in Goma in particular. The Under-Secretary-General of Peacekeeping, Alain LeRoy said during a news conference in Goma today at the end of a three day visit to the area.
The objective of reinforcing MONUC forces in North Kivu is to lift the threat of armed groups from local populations, explained Mr. LeRoy who jointly hosted the event at MONUC's base in Goma, with Alan Doss, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the DRC.
Alain LeRoy reaffirmed the determination of the UN to make protecting civilain populations and legally established institutions a priority. He also called on all armed groups to cease fire.
Alan Doss made a similar call while calling for an end to hostilities in Rutshuru. '' We are currently in contact with all armed groups here and have demanded the withdrawal of all armed groups from Rutshuru and its vicinity so that MONUC can guarantee the protection of civilians there.''
To tackle the the crisis, Mr. Leroy declared that MONUC, while it has 17,000 soldiers, needs supplementary troops to deliver its mandate. Some additional troops would allow the Mission to protect Goma, but also to continue its work in Ituri, in other areas of the north and in the province of South Kivu.
On Tuesday, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, asked the UN Security Council to consider the possibility of an extra 3000 peacekeepers in DRC. Giving the details of this request, MONUC's Military Spokesman said this would include two infantry battallions, two Special Forces' companies, 18 helicopters, and two C