Reports that the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC), has facilitated two doctors to be airlifted into thevolatile Eastern DRC, to treat a senior official of the terrorist group, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), are a cause for great concern.
According to press reports, the two doctors facilitated by MONUC officials entered the Congo jungles to treat ailing FDLR commander Maj. Gen. Sylvestre Mudacumura, who is said to be diabetic.
The brutality of the FDLR in the Eastern DRC is well documented, with the most depressing results that have torn the region apart, from the rape of thousands of women and girls infecting them with HIV, to the looting of resources and burning down of houses.
The livelihoods of innocent civilians are under constant threat from the marauding insurgents who have left hundreds of civilians destitute and homeless.
It is a region in the throes of a grave humanitarian catastrophe that has attracted much international attention, as it threatens to destabilize the new found peace in the whole Great Lakes Region.
As things stand, any cynic will be excused for placing blame of the never ending cycle of violence and conflict, squarely on the shoulders of the constantly blundering MONUC, which is mandated to keep peace in the volatile region.
Ever begging for more resources MONUC symbolizes a bottomless pit into which resources are poured, with very little results on the ground.
In fact, MONUC’s recent acquisition of any semblance of dignity, is a result of the impetus towards peace in the region brought about by the joint cooperation between the Rwandan and Congolese forces, on whose back it has since ridden.
A case in point is that when operation ‘Umoja Wetu’ was launched MONUC was sucking its big thumb on the sidelines, predicting doom for the operation, whose subsequent success it is now exploiting in its cooperation with the Congolese forces, under operation Kimia II.
Inevitably, MONUC’s inability to deliver can easily be traced to institutional weaknesses such as the failure to rein in on unruly officials within its ranks, lack of strategic planning and the quick temptation to corrupt practices, as proven in the latest report on Gen. Mudacumura’s illegal access to medical treatment. All this costs lives.
This is a man with blood on his hands who should be behind bars, but ironically receives specialized treatment and a lease of life to continue commanding the blood-thirsty FDLR rebels.
This juxtaposed against the thousands of vulnerable women and girls, many who die giving birth, due to lack of qualified gynecologists and medicine, for whom no one has seen fit to fly in medical expertise from Europe is a shame to say the least.
While MONUC itself, as is expected, has denied these reports, the explicit details at hand are indisputable, further compounded by the fact that the UN body, has not exactly maintained a clean reputation in its operations, often caught with pants down in violation of the same humanitarian law under which it was established.
Take for instance, that as I write there are MONUC officials, who have had to return to India, under investigation for sexually abusing helpless women under their protection in the region.
This is not the first of such reports, of the lack of discipline among some MONUC officials with unbridled sexual appetites.
Rape has been singled out as one the most deadly weapons of war used to subdue and control if not kill women and girls in the region.
Many are used as sex slaves, with horrific reports of thousands who are infected with HIV by the marauding rebels, making the women’s situation even more desperate when MONUC officials join the rebels in their exploitation.
Consequently, MONUC’s integrity is questionable when some of its own openly violate one of the fundamental mandates for which the body was established. United Nations Security Council (UNSC), gives MONUC mandate over a wide range of areas, among which is : “To facilitate humanitarian assistance and human rights monitoring, with particular attention to vulnerable groups including women, children and demobilized child soldiers.”
It is therefore patently clear, that the history of blundering MONUC has built for itself, as it has been found wanting in several areas of its mandate such as, sexually abusing women under protection looting of mineral resources among others, calls for urgent action on the latest report of the two flown in European based doctors.
Apart from the immorality of flying in medical doctors to resuscitate the life of a man with hands dripping of blood, what is even more worrisome is the security aspect of it, necessitating the question of how much communication and cooperation is there between FDLR and MONUC?
It is a cause for concern which the UN at the highest level has to investigate as it also undermines efforts towards peace in the region.
The world and indeed Congolese civilians under siege from the rebels deserve an explanation, on the whole matter, in terms of the links MONUC officials have with FDLR and its European based financiers.
This sad development also comes after the diplomatic victory in which the European Union’s Council of Ministers, at last agreed to implement UN Resolutions on the FDLR, to deal with their links on European soil.
All this is meant to end the pervasive culture of impunity among the rebels, who have operated freely, especially in Europe from where they fund their deadly operations in Africa.
There is no smoke without fire MONUC therefore still has much to answer for, or else history will judge those in charge harshly, we have an example of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, on how UN blundering can cost lives.
Joseph Rwagatare’s column will be run in tomorrow’s issue.