MONUSCO has reinforced its security system on the outskirts of the town of Bunia, in Ituri, after rebels from the CODECO / ALC (Alliance for the Liberation of Congo) armed group, which was resistant to the peace process, attempted an incursion into this city.
The militiamen loyal to the rebel leader called "Mountain Wolf" attacked, very early on Saturday, October 24, 2020, an FARDC position near Dele, 6 km south-east of Bunia.
MONUSCO dispatched a rapid response unit to support the Congolese army and repel the attacks. The Mission then deployed an armed helicopter and patrol to deter further rebel action against the city.
While patrolling, the peacekeepers came across militiamen burning a house near Dele. Following an exchange of fire, they managed to dislodge them. A unit of MONUSCO's rapid response troops was also dispatched to back the patrol with a view to preventing further spread of violence towards city-centre of Bunia.
The local population applauded MONUSCO Force's intervention as well as its support to FARDC to stop rebels' move.
In the meantime, in the town of Bunia, MONUSCO organized a security patrol around the internally displaced camps. A predominantly female patrol, made up of women from the United Nations Police, including those from the Senegalese Formed Police Unit.
The aim was to reassure the panic-stricken population following the clashes.
"We heard gunshots, not really knowing what's going on. Panic spread very swiftly on the site where the already traumatized people were living. With the presence of MONUSCO and its police force, we feel a little reassured," said a displaced woman.
Root cause of the problem
CODECO militiamen had responded favourably to the call of the Congolese Head of state, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, to lay down their weapons; an appeal made through former warlords in the region.
Unfortunately, the CODECO / ALC faction, active in the Walendu Tatsi, in Ezekere, more or less 17km from Bunia, in the territory of Djugu, finally decided, unilaterally, to withdraw from the peace process. Its members have resumed committing abuses against civilians, including looting, theft and arson, etc.
Given the volatile and unpredictable context of the security situation in the region, MONUSCO peacekeepers remain mobilized for the protection of civilians, and particularly the vulnerable people.