DR Congo

DRC: Operation Dove flight

News and Press Release
Originally published
Lt Col Gagan Baath/Monuc
The territory of Rutshru witnessed a major upsurge of conflict during the first half of July 2005 when the Mayi Mayi Groups in conjunction with Interhamwes clashed with 12th Bde of FARDC. A number of villages around Ishasha were captured by Mayi Mayi and later recaptured by FARDC. During the fighting between these armed groups, approx 5 000 locals were displaced from Ishasha, Nyakakoma, Nyamilima and villages in the general area. Most of the IDPs moved towards Kiwanja/Vitshumbi and some took to the bush.

INDBATT-1 rose to the occasion and facilitated the stabilization of the situation. With the prime aim of protecting the civil population, INDBATT-1 intervened between the warring factions and carried out negotiations/mediations thereby ensuring the termination of the clashes. Determination and commitment to security of local population was vividly displayed by the contingent by show of force, mobile ptls, Heptr Msns and by interposing themselves in between the two warring factions.

The biggest challenges for INDBATT-1 after ensuring the cease fire, was to bring succor to the local population who had suffered at the hands of FARDC, particularly the IDPs. Toward this end, "Operation Dove Flight" - A Humanitarian Mission was launched by INDBATT-1 in conjunction with Humanitarian Section of MONUC and various NGOs/UN Agencies for the purpose on 28 Jul 2005.

During the Phase 1 of "Operation Dove Flight", identification of victims was carried out by INDBATT-1, WFP, CARITAS and SOLIDARITIES. Later, WFP volunteered to provide humanitarian aid to the IDPs in Kiwanja. INDBATT-1 played an important role by providing security to the NGOs participating in the Operation and ensured smooth distribution of the humanitarian aid. Sixty Tons of Food Items were distributed in Kiwanja on 28 Jul 2005. Approx 450 families benefited from the assistance.

During the past, it has been experienced that the aid provided by various NGOs/UN Agencies in the absence of security is looted by the armed militias, thus negating the effect of the humanitarian efforts extended to the target population. Towards this end, Indbatt-1 is determined to prevent any such ventures by the armed militias.

In Phase 2 of "Operation Dove Flight", the victims of the conflict along the critical Kiwanja - Ishasha - Nyakakoma axis are being identified jointly by Indbatt-1 and other UN Agencies. Indbatt-1 alongwith Mr Kabongo Moise /Ms Aya (WFP) are presently in the field to establish the quantum of aid required for this area.Indbatt-1 has already sanitized/secured the area making it conducive for the humanitarian activities. A medical camp is being planned by the Indbatt-1 as part of "Operation Dove Flight" in near future in conjunction with other UN agencies to alleviate the conditions of the locals along Kiwanja - Ishasha axis.