UN peacekeeping mission in DRC evacuates displaced people after violent attack News
MONUSCO Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
UN peacekeeping mission in DRC evacuates displaced people after violent attack

The United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), a peacekeeping mission in the DRC, reported on Saturday that it protected civilians escaping violent attacks in the eastern region of the DRC by deploying troops to secure a designated corridor.

The mission said on X (formerly Twitter) that about 1,000 displaced people have been sheltered and it aims to protect the civilians with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FADRC).

Rebels shelled and dropped “mortar bombs” on the town of Mweso, located in DRC’s North Kivu province, killing 19, injuring 27 other civilians, and forcing people to flee from their homes.

The army alleged that the 23 March Movement (M23) rebel group was behind the attack. M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa accused the DRC army of using drones and heavy artillery to bomb the town which caused the death of the “innocent population”. This has escalated tension between Rwanda and the DRC as the DRC alleges that Rwanda supports the M23 rebel group, a claim which has been consistently denied by Rwanda.

The UN has emphasized that clashes between the M23 and the FARDC are becoming more frequent and stronger, resulting in a deteriorated security situation in the country. Despite this, DRC requested the UN Security Council launch a gradual withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission from December 2023 rather than the planned withdrawal at the end of 2024.

The UN peacekeeping mission has been present in the country since 1999 as MONUC and was renamed as MONUSCO in 2010. The resolution S/RES/2717(2023) adopted by the UNSC renewed the mandate for another year which expires on December 20, 2024. Further, the Security Council acceded to the request and set out a three-phased “comprehensive disengagement plan”. The plan began at the end of 2023 amid the electoral process wherein MONUSCO offered limited logistical support to the DRC at the request of the government. The DRC considers MONUSCO ineffective in controlling the armed conflicts that have plagued the eastern DRC for decades.