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MONUSCO launches Operation "Easter Shield" to reassure the population of Doruma

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Dungu, 1 May 2011 – Following recent attacks by elements of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) against civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s town of Doruma, the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) intervened by deploying its Special Forces in the area in order to protect the local population.

The seven-day operation codenamed “Operation Easter Shield”, which was launched on 23 April, was conducted by Guatemalan Forces with the aim of protecting civilians.

Doruma is a town located 220 km northwest of Dungu, in the District of Haut Uele in Province Orientale, near the border with Sudan.

The town, which had been hitherto spared from LRA incursions, came under a series of attacks from the armed group beginning 19 April, causing the death of one civilian, while eight others were kidnapped, and goods were looted.

These incidents, which created panic among the population of Doruma as well as fear of further attacks, led many inhabitants to seek refuge, especially at night, at the local hospital and in churches across the town.

MONUSCO's response to this situation was to restore order and calm to the area during the Easter celebrations by increasing day and night patrols inside Doruma as well as outside within a 20 km-radius.

Since then, the calm has returned, although the overall security situation remains fragile, and would need to be improved to help the population resume its activities, especially with regard to farming, which would help avert a food crisis.

Various NGOs and civil society organizations in the region have called on MONUSCO to maintain a presence in the town.

Leocadio Salmeron/ MONUSCO