- The Congolese government has deployed more than 330 newly trained police officers in the troubled eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a move that has been praised by the UN for its commitment to stabilise the Kivu province.
The deployment supported by the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC) seeks to maintain peace and order in the province which its conflicts, between government forces and the Tutsi rebel group, has displaced more 250,000 civilians since August 2008.
According to MONUC 60 of the officers will provide security for major road works between the towns of Sake and Masisi, which its contruction was suspended in August 2008 when government clashed with rebels. The construction employs some 1,200 people living along the road.
Special Representative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for the DRC, Alan Doss said that despite recent positive developments in the peace process in the east, there is still much to be done, particularly in the areas of humanitarian action, protection of civilians, and extension of state authority.
He said joint patrols and other operations of MONUC and the Congolese army had been launched to restore authority, stating that the number of multi disciplinary teams for the protection of civilians had also been increased.
Mr Doss has also expressed concern over reports indicating that the notorious Ugandan stubborn rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was still attacking isolated areas in the eastern province.
“In response, MONUC was in the process of progressively beefing up its support for the Congolese army in vulnerable areas,” he said.
The Security Council has asked MONUC to prioritise the stabilisation of the eastern provinces and the protection of civilians there, particularly after the fierce fighting of recent months involving various militia groups displaced in the province.
MONUC was originally set up in 1999 to help enforce a ceasefire after years of civil war that cost four million lives, and it has taken on such tasks as election assistance to help with peace consolidation.
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