DR Congo

DR Congo: MONUC supports operations to restore order and State authority in Equateur

News and Press Release
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Kinshasa December 16, 2009 - On Tuesday 15 December, MONUC Force Commander General Babacar Gaye was in Dongo, Equateur where he led an assessment mission comprising both military and civilian staff. On the same day, the first military elements of MONUC, led by General Abdul Austin Appogan Yella, Commander of the Western Brigade, arrived also in this locality. Temporary operational bases are now functional in Dongo and Bozene. Altogether, MONUC will deploy in the area 500 soldiers from the Ghanaian, Egyptian, Tunisian and Egyptian contingents and elements from the Guatemalan Special Force, as well as armoured vehicles, and transport and combat helicopters.

The commander of the Western Brigade of MONUC will coordinate activities to support to the FARDC on three axes. North axis: Gemena-Mbari-Libenge; central axis: Gemena-Bozen-Kungu-Dongo, and south axis: Mbandaka-Imesse along the river Ubangui. Support includes transport, supplies and medical evacuation. MONUC has already evacuated 15 injured FARDC soldiers by helicopter from Dongo to Gemena.

MONUC troops are also working to repair key infrastructure such as bridges that are damaged or in poor condition.

Following interethnic violence and the attack on its civilian helicopter during a re-supply mission in Dongo on November 26th, 2009, MONUC, after consultation with the civil and military authorities, decided to support joint PNC/FARDC operations aimed at re-establishing order and State authority in Dongo, Imesse and surrounding areas. Another objective is to support humanitarian agency efforts to bring assistance aid to populations in need.

Finally, with respect to rumours of an attack on government forces by assailants using arms left behind by Blue Helmets, These rumours are entirely false.

MONUC wishes to make the following clarification. While it is true that one of the Mission's armoured transport vehicles that had broken down was temporarily abandoned, its soldiers acted with professionalism: no arms or ammunition were left on board and the cannon was disassembled. Therefore, it could in no case be used for any military operation. This armoured vehicle and another transport lorry, also broken down, have since been retrieved by its own forces sent for this purpose. No weapons or ammunition were at any time abandoned by MONUC personnel.