A Beni-based MONUSCO Police (UNPOL) team met on Tuesday 14 January 2020 with leaders of the Mulekera and Bungulu communities, in the Bundji health area in Beni, North Kivu, to discuss the mandate of MONUSCO in general, and that of MONUSCO Police in particular.
These exchanges aimed at restoring and strengthen confidence between MONUSCO and the local population, following the recent demonstrations against MONUSCO, which resulted in the destruction of some of the UN Mission's facilities in the town of Beni.
While deploring and strongly condemning the killings of innocent civilians by armed groups in Beni, the MONUSCO police recalled the efforts deployed by the Mission in combating urban crime by establishing strategies to combat insecurity in Beni, Oicha and Butembo.
These strategies have included providing fuel and food to Congolese National Police (PNC) agents engaged in operations to combat insecurity, providing toll-free phone lines for the population to alert the PNC in case of threat, or UNPOL's participation, alongside the PNC, in operations to secure certain hotspots in Beni. These operations have, for example, led to the arrest of major criminals and the recovery of their arsenal, including weapons of war.
Regretting, for their part, the recent looting of MONUSCO facilities, which they said was due to manipulation of the population, these community leaders, including heads of neighborhoods, cells, avenues and blocks, presented to the United Nations Police various projects carried out by MONUSCO for the benefit of their neighborhoods, including building clean water supply systems which have brought relief to the population, especially women.
These community leaders also talked about the difficulties of ensuring the proper functioning of the Community Watch Cell, where they meet, in the context of the fight against the Ebola virus disease, which is still very active in this area due to resistance from certain segments of the population.
These difficulties including alerting, the recording and sharing of data with the health area structure and the monitoring of contacts and visitors of Ebola patients.
Finally, satisfied with these discussions with UNPOL, the community leaders invited the United Nations police officers to plan another meeting extended to the population to make MONUSCO's mandate known to the widest possible audience.