A high level Military delegation from New York led by Major General Abhijit Guha, deputy Military advisor to the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) visited North Kivu province in eastern DRC, with the aim of evaluating the security situation and the work of Blue Helmets in the province.
This visit formed part of the General’s overall tour of the MONUC mission and indeed other UN African peacekeeping missions.
Major General Guha visited Goma, Rutshuru and Kanyabayonga during his visit, where he met with MONUC officials, military officers and troops on the ground, and evaluated first hand their activities and operations.
Upon arrival in Goma, the delegation, accompanied by MONUC Deputy Force Commander Major General Adam Foster, were given a detailed briefing on various pertinent issues including an overview of the Congo situation with a special emphasis on North Kivu Province, including the security dynamic and the prevailing security situation on the ground.
During the briefing, General Guha was informed of the various operational aspects related to operation Kimia II and MONUC’s support to the FARDC in particular. He emphasized the necessity to have a coherent intelligence gathering plan to undertake mandated tasks in a more proactive manner.
Thereafter, he spoke with MONUC’s officials in North Kivu as well as the heads of MONUC’s various substantive and civilian sections, and highly appreciated the good relationship and team spirit between MONUC’s military and civilian components.
The delegation then visited MONUC’s Level III hospital in Goma and met a number of patients, including MONUC military and civilian staff and injured FARDC soldiers. The General commended the hospital staff for their professionalism, dedication and commitment and told them to continue the good work.
On 16 December last the delegation went by helicopter to Rutshuru and Kanyabayonga to get a first hand insight into the latest security situation on ground. At Rutshuru the visiting delegation was received by the Commanding Officer of the MONUC Indian Company on the ground, and was given a detailed security briefing.
During the briefing issues discussed included the conditions under which support is brought to the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC), the work of Military Observers on the ground, the need for a dynamic information and intelligence network, and the type of materials and equipment required by peacekeeping contingents when they are deployed on a UN Mission.
The delegation also visited a care centre for Internally Displaced Persons and the surveillance centre run by MONUC Indian peacekeepers at Kiwanja. General Guha was highly appreciative of the efforts being made to restore peace and a normal life in the area.
They also travelled to Kanyabayonga where they were received by the Commanding Officer of the MONUC Indian Company on the ground and was briefed on the latest events, the security scenario and the role being played by Blue Helmets in maintaining relative peace in the region.
During talks with local civilian dignitaries, General Guha listened to their problems and their demand for additional MONUC troops in the region. The delegation also spoke with FARDC officers and police officers and advised them of the need to curb and eliminate indiscipline and human rights abuses amongst its rank and file.
Major General Abhijit Guha was highly appreciative of the good work and efforts being put in by the Blue Helmets of MONUC’s North Kivu Brigade and told them to continue working in the same professional manner.