UN, Congolese forces call joint operation in northeast a success

The UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) says most of the objectives of its joint military operation with the Congolese Armed Forces against armed groups in the north-east of the vast country have been achieved.
The United Nations News Service says the operation, launched earlier this month and code-named “Rock of Steel,” is intended to neutralize the remaining forces of the Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri, known under its French acronym FPRI, and other illegal armed groups in the area.
Bangladeshi contingents of the UN Mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, supported the Congolese in taking control of several towns, and are currently aiding with mop-up operations in hilly areas that the militias have left, according to a press release issued by the Mission.
The press release said that Congolese military and administrative officials had agreed that “MONUC`s support was excellent and the unrolling of the operations on the ground was a success.”
In recent actions, the Mission said, it recovered the bodies of 11 militia fighters and a small-weapons arsenal. It added that it continues to provide logistical support the Congolese Army, including aerial reconnaissance and evacuation of the wounded.
Hundreds of thousands of people in the eastern DRC have been uprooted by conflict involving a range of militias in the past year, in addition to the 800 000 that had fled previous fighting.
In its latest resolutions, the Security Council has requested MONUC to make the protection of civilians in the eastern DRC its priority, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has repeatedly called on Member States to strengthen MONUC to better perform that task through the provision of air and intelligence assets and military trainers, as well as other resources.