MONUC continues to support joint operations against rebels in eastern DRC

Kinshasa 6 May 2009 - At its weekly press conference today, MONUC said that it was reinforcing its military manpower in Haut Uele, Ituri and North Kivu in eastern DRC, in order to support the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) in their efforts to put an end to rebel and militia exactions against the local population.

In Oreintale Province, in Haut-Uélé, the reinforcement of MONUC Forces continues, in particular with the deployment of additional Blue Helmets in Duru.

Within the framework of operation Rudia 2, the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) released nine boys and a girl from the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the area between Duru and Bitima.

These children were brought to the FARDC camp in Dungu. MONUC forces requested of the United Nations Children's fund (UNICEF) in Dungu to assist these young people.

In Ituri district, in the southern part of Irumu territory, troops of the Patriotic Resistance Front of Ituri (FRPI) have been divided into small groups, and are dispersed within the local population. With the large size and density of these areas, certain militiamen continue to hide in the zones south of Poto Poto forest. MONUC forces have been deployed in this area to support the FARDC for the next operation.

In North Kivu province, operations within the framework of the military campaign against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) continued in Kilimanyoka towards Virunga national park, in the areas southwest of Kiwanja and west of Kashebere; and northeast of Kibua.

FDLR troops continued their operations with small scale attacks against the FARDC and the population.

MONUC forces strengthened its protection activities by deploying Joint Protection Teams in Luofu and Kanyabayonga.

Towards the last weekend, Kimia 2 operations continued throughout the province, in particular in the area of Busesa, located 10 kilometres west of Kishero since 29 April 2009; in the forest between Kibrizi and Kirima on 1 May 2009 and in Katimba, located three kilometres southwest of Kiwanja inside Virunga national park.

For this period, search and cordon operations carried out jointly with the FARDC led to the arrest of 16 FDLR combatants and the surrender of 6 other troops, with a total of 12 weapons.

According to the FARDC, 45 FDLR troops were killed during the confrontations. In the same context, the FARDC arrested five FDLR troops and 17 weapons were seized.

In South Kivu province, preparations for operation Kimia 2 are in hand. On 28April 2009, MONUC Force Commander General Babacar Gaye chaired a planning meeting with the staff of MONUC's South Kivu Brigade in Bukavu. In attendance was General Amuli, the FARDC commander of the Kimia 2 operation, as well as officers from the FARDC and MONUC forces.

The participants examined the plans of the operation and measures aimed at reinforcing the protection of civilians in the operational zones. It was also underlined at this meeting that FARDC soldiers responsible for human rights violations should be punished, and that any children found in the FARDC ranks would be removed.

Despite the military forces lined against them, FDLR combatants have not ceased to harass and intimidate civilians, particularly in the area of Bunyakiri.