The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) has reinforced its presence in the restive North Kivu capital, Goma.
U.N. body’s military spokesman, Colonel Felix Basse, said, “MONUSCO is continuing fulfilling its mandate, which is protecting the civilian population in and around Goma town. We are conducting our patrols. We have deployed 17 quick reaction forces in order to protect the civilian population in Goma.”
He added the U.N. force is continuing to monitor the situation and will hold the M23 rebels accountable if they commit any human rights abuses after seizing control of Goma.
Basse said the U.N. peacekeepers have stepped up military efforts to prevent civilian casualties following the clashes between Congo’s national army and the rebels.“[The clashes] haven’t prevented us from doing our job,” said Basse.
“Currently, the airport is under the control of MONUSCO force and we will hold M23 responsible for any human rights violation within the Goma town,” said Basse. “We are continuing to deploy wherever needed. We are completely committed to implement the mandate of protecting the civilian population.”
Basse says the U.N. peacekeepers will take the steps needed to protect civilians and provide humanitarian assistance despite the rebels controlling Goma.
“At the moment, we are in Goma, but we don’t interact with the M23, we don’t cooperate with the M23 and we are just conducting our regular duties,” he said. “All that remains is for humanitarian assistance to get to those IDP [internally displaced people] camps in order to give them some relief.”