News / Africa

DRC Army and UN Peacekeepers Try to Help Displaced Persons

Girls, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, cover themselves from the cold in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept. 1, 2013.
Girls, displaced by recent fighting between Congolese army and the M23 rebels, cover themselves from the cold in Munigi village near Goma in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Sept. 1, 2013.
Margaret Besheer
In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the national army and United Nations peacekeepers are working to combat dozens of armed groups that have terrorized local populations. In North Kivu province alone, 1 million people - one-sixth of the entire population - has been displaced by violence. While combat rages, civilians are also fighting a daily battle of their own – the battle to survive.
 
At the Mugunga 3 camp for internally displaced persons, a few kilometers outside of Goma, more than 16,000 people have sought refuge from clashes between the Congolese army and M23 rebels.
 
Baraka Weja Marcel, a refugee in the camp, fled his home in Kibumba, about 20 kilometers from Goma, nearly two years ago. He claims the town is still occupied by the armed group.
 
Marcel says peace is needed so he and people like him can go back to their villages. He says life is very difficult in the camp, where he and six of his relatives live together. Their only shelter is a tent a few meters long and wide, fashioned from plastic sheeting. Inside, there is a yellow jug for water, some pots and an old, rusting bicycle. He says that when it rains, the shelter leaks. His situation is not unusual.
 
The World Food Program and other partner agencies help the displaced with food, clean water, sanitation and other basic needs, but their existence is nonetheless grim. Even in the camp, they are not entirely safe from the threat of armed groups.
 
In the eastern Congo, the United Nations has a force of 20,000 police and troops, known as MONUSCO. They protect civilians and support the Congolese army as it builds its capacity and works to take on about 39 different rebel groups which have been attracted to the region by its wealth of natural resources and lack of government control.
 
In addition, MONUSCO has been beefed up with an experimental offensive force called an Intervention Brigade. It will soon number 3,000 troops; the last contingent is scheduled to arrive this week. Next month, it will become the first U.N. peacekeeping mission to get an unarmed drone to help track rebels.
 
Ray Torres, who heads the U.N. mission's Goma office, said recent successful operations against the M23 have led to an increase in the number of fighters defecting from its ranks and the ranks of other armed groups. They also are now more willing to consider peace initiatives.
 
But as small gains are made, large threats still remain. Torres says that in North Kivu, the M23 and the FDLR, a Rwandan Hutu group, are the biggest security threats. He also notes the growing emergence of a third group, the Allied Democratic Forces, or ADF, which operates along the Congo-Uganda border.
 
“[The ADF] is establishing and strengthening its position in the north of the country. It is very strongly ideologically based. It is an extremist Islamist group that is developing a network of businesses that indicates to us that they are planning to stay. And it seems lately, according to the latest information, that they may be planning operations against FARDC [the Congolese army],” said Torres.
 
A delegation from the U.N. Security Council visited the area Sunday. Civil society representatives told the ambassadors they want more action on ending the recruitment of child soldiers and on protecting women from sexual violence.
 
They said the state must extend its control over the whole country, noting that in 75 percent of the territory in North Kivu is in the hands of different armed groups. They also demanded that perpetrators be punished and recommended the council authorize a specialized court for serious human rights violations in Congo.
 
Baraka Weja Marcel said he hopes the national army and MONUSCO will be strong enough to chase all the armed groups away, so that peace can come and he and all the other displaced persons can return home.

You May Like

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid