DRC government troops and United Nations peacekeepers launched a joint operation aimed at reinforcing security around the capital of the North Kivu province, Goma.
The city as well as Sake face threats from several armed groups, including from the M23 rebels. Group which Congo accuses Rwanda of supporting.
United Nations experts concluded in a rteport that Rwanda backs the M23, although Kigali denies the claim.
The UN’s Force commander, Lt. Gen. Otávio Rodrigues de Miranda Filho from Brazil was present Monday (Nov. 06) at the launch of one joint patrol and emphasised his forces commitment to helping the Congolese troops.
“We have a full commitment with the protection of the citizens of the DRC and all soldiers that are deployed here. They are here outside our bases because they are ready to die, if necessary, to protect the population of this country,” Lt. Gen. the MONUSCO Force Commander said.
Fighting in the region has forced residents to flee their villages.
The new joint operation, named Springbok, has established several fresh defensive positions, with UN armoured vehicles and heavily armed troops seen deployed in the hilly terrain near Sake.
Local militia, known as “Wazalendo”, and the M23 rebels from the Kibumba and Buhumba region have been clashing in the Nyiragongo territory, some twenty kilometers from Goma.
Securing the Goma region is one of MONUSCO’s key tasks.
Locals criticise the UN for failing to bring peace to the country, and mobs have rioted outside its bases. Congo’s government has called for MONUSCO to leave the country.
Peacekeepers have been present in DRC since 1999 but militia violence has nonetheless continued to plague the east.
The Congolese government has requested MONUSCO’s “accelerated” departure, from December.
Tshisekedi said that the mission of some 14,000 peacekeepers “has not succeeded in confronting the rebellions and armed conflicts… nor in protecting the civilian populations.”
Tshisekedi’s pronouncement, came just weeks after the seven-nation East African Community (EAC) extended the mandate of a regional military force deployed to quell violence in eastern DRC.