There is mixed reaction after residents
in the restive town of Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province heard
announcement that Rwandan forces are in the country to fight rebels. This comes
after Kinshasa invited Kigali troops to chase down the Forces
for the Liberation of Rwanda rebels
after a recent agreement last year between Congo President Joseph Kabila and Rwanda
President Paul Kagame. Hundreds of Rwandan troops reportedly crossed into north eastern DRC yesterday
(Tuesday) with the aim of rooting out FDLR rebels who are accused of
perpetuating Rwanda's 1994 genocide. But while some residents hailed the move, others
fear of an escalation of violence, which they said would increase the numbers
of displaced people.
Mounoubai is the spokesman for the United Nations Mission in the DRC (MONUC).
He tells reporter Peter Clottey that MONUC would help Kinshasa protect the
lives of ordinary Congolese.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (Alan Doss) in the DRC is
following closely those developments in the eastern part of the DRC. We think that whatever is taking place now is
in line with recent agreement between the DRC and Rwanda during their meeting
in Goma last year when they signed an accord last December to get a joint force
against the FDLR, and I think that is what is taking place now," Mounoubai noted.
said MONUC hopes the joint military operation would not adversely affect
residents in the eastern part of the country.
are calling on all those parties involved in this military operation to above
all make sure that the civilians are protected and that the international
humanitarian laws are respected and applied as they are. And of course we are
worried when there is going to be a military operation and so far we don't have
many details about how and when the operation itself will begin," he said.
denied claims by Kinshasa that the United Nations mission in DRC is involved in
the military operation.
is not being part of the preparatory meeting that is leading to the military
operation. So, what I can tell you is that yes the war is there and we are
calling on all the parties to make sure that the civilians are not the innocent
victims during this military offensive," Mounoubai pointed out.
said MONUC is mandated to help protect the lives of innocent Congolese.
last resolution 1856 gives us a firmer mandate to do everything in our capacity
to protect civilians. But now the minister of communication and the media was
on different media outlets today talking about the difficulty in informing
Congolese about the joint military operation. So, I think the government is
aware of the current situation about the mix reaction that greeted the Rwandan
forces. So, the minister is trying to take some actions in order to inform
people about the operation," he said.
said it behooves Kinshasa to protect its citizens although MONUC would provide
first thing you must be aware of is that it is not MONUC's responsibility to
protect the population or the civilians, this is the government's
responsibility. We are assisting the government of this country to provide
protection to the civilians. And as far as MONUC is concerned this is our
mandate and we are in contact and working closely with the humanitarian
communities and we are following developments on the ground and bracing
ourselves to intervene whenever it is necessary to protect the civilians and
bring them assistance if that is what is needed," Mounoubai noted.
political analysts say the joint military offensive between Kigali and Kinshasa
could potentially change the security landscape. The presence of the FDLR
rebels is believed to have contributed immensely to the instability in the
eastern part of the DRC.