UN Peacekeepers Turn Over Eastern DRC Base To Gov't Forces

(MENAFN- Daily News Egypt)

UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Friday turned over the first of their military bases to government forces, a UN spokesman announced.

The handover of the Bunyakiri base in the South Kivu province to the Congolese Armed Forces is part of the mission's plan for disengagement from the eastern DRC province, said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“Our peacekeeping colleagues describe this as a pivotal step of disengagement efforts that also reflects the Congolese army's commitment to strengthen its presence as the mission withdraws from South Kivu province,” Dujarric said.

The base, located about 80km outside the city of Bukavu, was first established in 2004 as a mobile operating base and became a full-fledged permanent operating base in 2016, he said.

In November 2023, UN representatives and the Kinshasa government signed a note on the accelerated, gradual and orderly withdrawal of peacekeepers from the mission, known as MONUSCO, from the DRC. The note contained a plan for the complete disengagement in the country.

A release from MONUSCO on Friday said the withdrawal did not mean the United Nations was leaving the DRC.

“Rather, it is a reconfiguration of the UN's presence in support of the people and government of the DRC,” it said.“After MONUSCO's departure, the UN agencies, funds, and programs will continue to provide support in accordance with their respective mandates. Responsibility for the protection of civilians and security will lie exclusively with the Congolese government.”

Dujarric said Volker Turk, the UN high commissioner for human rights, concluded his visit to MONUSCO on Thursday evening.

Turk told a Kinshasa press conference that all Congolese people have a right to peace, adding that it is imperative that the government is able to fully play its role in the country's east, enforce security, and provide essential services such as education and health.

Turk also called on countries that support or have influence over armed groups in the country's east to assume their responsibility to ensure fighting stops, the spokesman said.


Daily News Egypt

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