Strongly condemning the fresh outbreak of deadly violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), sparked by a dispute over cattle, the head of the United Nations mission there has called for an immediate end to the fighting and has deployed UN peacekeepers to work alongside local authorities to help restore calm.
The inter-ethnic clashes "caused many casualties", leaving at least 30 dead and 15 wounded, said a press release issued by the UN Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO), describing the aftermath of a cattle rustling incident last night that led to fighting between the Bafuliru and Barundi/Banyamulenge communities in Uvira, South Kivu.
"This violence is unacceptable and must be halted immediately," said Mission chief Martin Kobler, noting that on the ground, peacekeepers have evacuated the injured to health centers, while MONUSCO and Congolese forces, known by the French acronym FARDC, are actively supporting local authorities to restore calm.
"Arrangements are being made to protect local populations with the deployment of peacekeepers in the town of Mutarule to strengthen the locally-based FARDC [troops]," confirmed Mr. Kobler.
As part of its mandate, which was renewed at the end of March for a period of one year, MONUSCO, is tasked with, among others, protecting civilians and working with Congolese Forces to quell the recurrent waves of conflict in eastern DRC threatening the overall stability and development of the country and wider Great Lakes region.