Militia attack on DRC IDP camp thwarted


Speedy response by United Nations (UN) peacekeepers and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) soldiers put paid to a militia attack on a camp housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) at Lodha in Djugu territory.

Speaking after the foiled attack by CODECO militia, Jules Tsuba, a Djugu civil society leader, told MONUSCO (UN Stabilisation Mission in DR Congo) correspondent Jean Tobie Okala that peacekeepers and FARDC (Forces Armées de la Republique Democratique du Congo) soldiers were on site and responded “immediately” to the militia arrival.

“This frightened them and they fled showing the importance of security and the MONUSCO presence,” Tsuba is reported as saying.

The intervention of Nepalese peacekeepers and FARDC soldiers stopped the CODECO attack with locals agreeing the death toll would have been higher than the 15 reported.

“The attack was halted after gunfire was exchanged between the militia, peacekeepers and DRC soldiers. Following the firefight MONUSCO and FARDC deployed to ensure the safety of those in the IDP camp.

“More than a hundred could have died if there was no intervention,” Tsuba said.

The Nepalese peacekeepers were on a routine patrol around the IDP camp when the militia attack started. Blue helmets fought back and were joined by FARDC soldiers with the joint effort repelling the attackers, Okala reported.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has just under 1 200 personnel serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC. The South African deployment in the sprawling central African country is codenamed Operation Mistral.

The South African contingent in DRC will see the defence budget depleted by over R1 billion over its year-long deployment. A large percentage of the R1 004 241 271 will be recouped as the world body pays for various services, equipment and personnel supplied to its peacekeeping and other missions.