Ongoing DRC violence does not augur well for election – Keita

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With Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) preparing for a general election, the country’s deteriorating security situation and ongoing violence does not augur well, a senior United Nations (UN) staffer told the Security Council (SC).

Bintou Keita, special representative of Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the sprawling, trouble-torn central African country, these were factors affecting the ongoing withdrawal of MONUSCO.

On the plus side she noted the DRC government’s promulgation of a revised electoral law and the establishment of a legal framework and conditions for “proper conduct” of the election. Adoption of a US$1,6 billion budget will provide the country’s electoral commission with the necessary means to run a free and fair election.

Highlighting persisting security challenges in eastern DRC due to abuses by various armed groups, she called for strengthening of the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC).

“An estimated 27 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance,” she said, adding a surge in internal displacement since January brought the total number of displaced people to 5.5 million — the largest caseload in Africa.  She called on Congolese authorities to ensure the safety of humanitarian personnel and safe delivery of assistance.

Regional initiatives are under way to support stabilisation in the east and ease regional tensions fuelled by the M23’s resurgence, she said.  Operational means and other resources must be mobilised to ensure provincial authorities have the capacities required to implement the disarmament, demobilisation, community recovery and stabilisation programme.

MONUSCO continues to discharge its mandate so its withdrawal from the last three of 25 provinces where it remains can occur in a calm, responsible and sustainable manner Keita told the SC.