AFRICA/D.R. CONGO - Civil society: "We want to have a say in the plan to withdraw the Blue Helmets"

Friday, 2 September 2022 un   civil society  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - Representatives of civil society in South Kivu (eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo), following a meeting in the Archdiocese of Bukavu, called for ensuring a peaceful transfer of responsibilities between peacekeepers of the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and the Congolese security forces by 2024.
During the debate, an assessment was made of the activities of the UN troops in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo over the past 22 years, also in light of the violent clashes between the population and the MONUSCO soldiers last July, which caused several deaths and injuries (see Fides, 2 and 8 August 2022).
Among the causes of the clashes - says a statement sent to Agenzia Fides - there are "the insufficient results (in guaranteeing safety by the Blue Helmets) in the face of the high expectations of the population", aggravated by the inability of the MONUSCO leadership to communicate with the population. In particular, there are complaints about insufficient information about the mandate of the UN mission and some statements by its spokesman that do not help to calm tempers. In addition, there are "suspicions of cooperation between MONUSCO and some armed forces groups", "the demonization campaign against MONUSCO via social media with the dissemination of fake news", "the manipulation of certain population groups by interest groups inside and outside the country" and "the resurgence of attacks on civilians in the vicinity of MONUSCO sites and bases".
The UN Mission in the DRC will end its mandate by June 30, 2024. Civil society in South Kivu is demanding a say in the implementation of the transition plan, which should result in the complete withdrawal of the blue helmets from the DRC by that date. "To this end, we have set up an ad hoc committee to present MONUSCO's successful actions, make our proposals for the plan and outline future scenarios to prevent possible problems after the UN soldiers leave", concludes the statement. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/9/2022)