The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (MONUC) has announced that its joint operations with the Congolese military (FARDC) will end by December 31st and their efforts will now focus on the protection of civilians.
Much as Rwanda welcomes the on-going joint military operations, dubbed Kimia II, by MONUC and FARDC, confusion arises when the UN force says it’s halting military operations against the rebel groups to concentrate on protecting civilians.
Who is visiting this misery on innocent civilians in the first place? Evidently, the suffering and inhumane conditions inflicted on civilians in Eastern DRC is a result of the so-called FDLR that have found sanctuary in the jungles of Eastern DRC.
How then, can MONUC guarantee the protection of these civilians if the very people causing their misery are left to continue to perpetrate the terror?
The message has been repeated over and over, that for the Congolese people, especially those in Eastern DRC, to enjoy peace and tranquility, FDLR must be disarmed and dislodged from their territory.
This responsibility lies largely on the shoulders of MONUC, as clearly stated in their mandate.
Rights groups have come up with figures showing that for every FDLR rebel disarmed, at least one human life is spared, seven women and girls are saved from rape, six houses spared destruction and 900 people saved from fleeing their homes.
That’s why MONUC should take responsibility and stop evading the root cause of the problem.
With 17,000 troops and a budget of $1 billion a year, it will surely be a shame for MONUC to end of their mandate without putting an end to the suffering of the people of Eastern DRC.