- The United Nations peacekeeping missin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been lauded for registering solid progress in trying to bring stability to the vast country's volatile eastern region.
According to the head of the Congo mission otherwise called MONUC and the Secretary General's Special Representative to the DRC, Alan Doss, the continued presence of armed rebels and militias in the provinces of North and South Kivu clearly indicates the need for the mission to tighten operations in the region.
Mr Doss said more than 90% of the total number of peacekeepers have been deployed across the country. He said the mission was making relative progress in restoring state authority to areas formerly controlled by rebels and armed militias.
Congolese authorities are striving hard to rebuild several years of misrule and civil war. Though peace is sustained in large part of the country, the DRC's volatile regions are seriously grappling with numerous challenges, including human rights violations, high infant and maternal mortality and an "epidemic of sexual violence."
“This is a problem of immense dimensions,” Mr Doss said, blaming the situation on the lack of a meaningful criminal justice system in many parts of Congo and the widespread culture of impunity.
He said the unexplained presence of Uganda's Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group in the borderlands area of the DRC was also a concern.
Doss feared the threats posed by Rwandan armed groups, including Rwandan Interahamwe and the Forces Démocratiques de la Libération du Rwanda, in the East. He said the governments of Congo and Rwanda have been consulted to persuade the groups to disarm and repatriate.
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