Democratic Republic of the Congo delegation head says humanitarian disaster is ‘unfolding before our eyes’ — Global Issues

Ms Keita, who is also the head of the country’s UN peacekeeping mission, said: Monuscowarned of a humanitarian disaster “unfolding before our eyes.”

More than 7 million people have been displaced within the country due to operations by armed groups such as the M23 and the Allied Defense Forces (ADF), particularly across the eastern regions of North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri.

“As this Council has regularly reiterated, it is also reflected in its recent statements on peace and tranquility. security council of the African Union, All foreign forces operating illegally on the territory of the DRC must withdrawAnd domestic and international armed groups such as the ADF and FDLR need to be disarmed,” she said.

Security reform is a top priority

Keita announced that Latest MONUSCO reportCovers political, security, human rights, and humanitarian developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the past three months.

She said that the presidential, national, and state elections held in December mostly peacefulDespite major logistical challenges.

President Felix Tshisekedi has secured a second term in office and announced that reforming the security and defense sector will be one of his key priorities. Negotiations are underway to form a new government.

tension and brutality

However, she said the security situation in the east further deteriorated after the December polls. M23 makes great progress and expand its territory to unprecedented levels. The result is an unprecedented number of internally displaced persons and an even more dire humanitarian situation.

During the reporting period, regional tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda resulted in Angola’s mediation efforts and the deployment of the Southern African Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (SAMIDRC) to North Kivu.

Although the M23 crisis has received a lot of attention, Keita emphasized that: Atrocities by other groupsespecially the ADF on the border between North Kivu and Ituri.

He noted that the deteriorating security situation in Ituri was fueled by the actions of four militias, Codeco, Zaire, FRPI and FPIC, as well as the ADF, and said around 200 people had been killed there since the beginning of the year. .

Tensions have also reignited in South Kivu province due to armed groups and communal conflicts. Frequent rumors about the presence of M23 elements and the spread of the conflict southward from North Kivu have further worsened the situation.

She added that the escalating tensions between Rwanda and Burundi, which led to the closure of the border by Burundian authorities, was another issue that could lead to instability in the state and the region as a whole.

protection of civilians

To protect civilians, MONUSCO and the Congolese army continued joint operations in Ituri and North Kivu, intensifying a defensive operation known as “Springbok” to protect North Kivu’s capital, Goma, and the nearby area of ​​Salmon. .

Keita said UN peacekeepers were under attack. Direct and indirect fire occurs ‘almost every day’. She accused M23 occupied territory mortar fire of recently landing on the MONUSCO base in Salmon, injuring eight peacekeepers and six civilian personnel.

The M23 also succeeded in capturing all previous positions held by the East African Army, but the East African Army withdrew completely in January after being in place for more than a year, leaving the group in Goma and This allowed them to move further south to surround Salmon.

Meanwhile, SAMIDRC’s deployment continues, with troops beginning to support the Congolese army.

wave of displacement

Turning to the humanitarian situation, Mr. Keita said the situation was due in particular to the intensification of the M23 crisis in North Kivu and the prolonged armed violence in Ituri and South Kivu.

According to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs, approximately 7.1 million people are internally displaced. teaor Over 800,000 It has been three months since she last briefed the council.

moreover, 23.4 million Congolese people face hunger and malnutrition; One in four people live here, making the Democratic Republic of the Congo the country most affected by food insecurity.

Waves of internally displaced persons continue to flood into Goma and surrounding areas. As of last month, more than 104 evacuation sites had been registered in the city alone, with more than 630,000 people evacuated.

Record spike in gender-based violence

“The number of cases of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation has also reached new records. In January 2024 alone, 10,400 incidents of gender-based violence were reported nationwide, which is a much higher increase than the previous year. “, she added.

Keita appealed to the international community to respond to the humanitarian disaster. However, she noted that this year’s $2.6 billion humanitarian response plan for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is only about 14 percent funded.

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