Rocket attack on MONUSCO position, civilians killed in DRC

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The deteriorating security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where a South African military presence is integral to a United Nations (UN) mandate for protecting civilians, was highlighted this week by two senior officials.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told s New York media briefing the M23 (the 23 March Movement) armed group “continues to target the Congolese army and the UN position in North Kivu”.

“Three rockets were fired at the mission (MONUSCO) position in Kabindi, 12km south-east of Rutshuru. Two rockets landed close to where peacekeepers were posted,”

Reinforcement of Dijarric’s comments came from Bintou Keita, Guterres’ special representative in DRC and MONUSCO head.

“An alarming resurgence of armed groups, including M23 threatens the security and stability of DRC eastern provinces and the region. It endangers UN mission personnel,” she told the Security Council (SC).

M23 is not the only armed group attacking “civilians, national security forces and MONUSCO” she said naming the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Co-operative for Development of the Congo (CODECO) as also active.

Keita further said M23 was “now behaving increasingly like a conventional army with sophisticated firepower and equipment — an obvious threat to civilians and peacekeepers, nine of who recently lost their lives”.

Personnel moves by FARDC and MONUSCO led to a security vacuum exploited by armed groups leaving 150 dead civilians in their wake and displacing 700 000 locals.