A top official says peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) are supporting Congo’s national army to retake an airport seized by rebels after an early Sunday morning surprised attack.
MONUC’s spokesman Madnoudje Mounoubai said he suspects rebels from the Allied Forces for the Liberation of Congo also known as Enyele rebels of conducting the attacks which left at least one peacekeeper dead.
“About 30 people came through the river and the first thing they attacked was the government mansion. Then they (rebels) moved from there to the airport and for a while they were in control of the airport,” he said.
Mounoubai quoted MONUC as saying there were a few peacekeepers during the attack.
“We have troops stationed at the airport (but) not that many. They are in charge only to secure UN property. But security at large of the airport is left to the FARDC (Congo’s national army). After moving back, the FARDC regrouped (and) they have support from MONUC and they are trying to retake the airport now,” Mounoubai said.
Congo’s media reported that the Enyele insurgency, which began in October 2009 in Dongo, South-Ubangi district, led to the displacement of local residents, including 50,000 who took shelter in Impfondo, in the Republic of Congo.
Jean Claude Baende, governor of Equateur Province reportedly said in a recent statement to Congo’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Security Adolphe Lumanu Mulenda that the Enyele rebellion has ended.
Baende was quoted in the report as saying, "We no longer talk of the Enyele rebellion as an organized group, but just as small groups of residual elements who are searching for means of survival," Baende said.
But Mounoubai said the surprise rebel attack left a UN peacekeeper dead.
“We lost one soldier from Ghana. He took a stray bullet actually when they were moving to the airport. So we lost one soldier. In terms of retaking control of the airport, MONUC is supporting FARDC in term of intelligence (and) in term of ground support. That is what we doing in the FARDC,” Mounoubai said.
He said the Enyele rebels’ surprising attack gave them the advantage to seize control of the airport.