The UN announced Wednesday that its mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUC, and the Congolese army (FARDC) adopted new directives for their joint operation (Kimia II) against FDLR rebels, with the protection of civilians as the core focus.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative to DRC, Allan Doss, announced the new directives to the Security Council on Wednesday.
Doss said Operation Kimia II’s goal of ending FDLR’s control of highly populated areas and weakening its ability to exploit the country’s natural resources such as gold and cassiterite “has been largely achieved.”
The joint MONUC-FARDC campaign is scheduled to end December 31.
“The FARDC and MONUC will now concentrate on holding ground recovered from the FDLR and preventing attacks on civilians in areas of vulnerability, while undertaking focused interventions against any centres of command and control where the FDLR may have regrouped,” Doss said.
“Protection of civilians has to be at the core of these operations.”
Doss acknowledged that in the eastern DRC provinces of North Kivu and South Kivu, human rights violations, especially sexual violence, were still rife.
Furthermore, the UN official reiterated the need to dismantle the international networks behind the minerals and arms smuggling in the eastern provinces, which have continued to connive with the FDLR and other militia to inflame violence in the DRC’s war-torn east.