There is significant co-operation between the UN peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) and the Congolese army (FARDC) at senior military as well as at operational level. However, there have been recent isolated instances where FARDC have demonstrated hostility towards MONUC. In response, MONUC have met with senior FARDC commanders to address the issue. The Congolese Government are taking measures to enhance the discipline and effectiveness of the FARDC, with the assistance of MONUC and the wider international community.
The success of Operation Kimia II has been mixed so far. The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia continues to carry out attacks against the civilian population and the Democratic Republic of Congo armed forces in north and south Kivu provinces. However, the military effort against the FDLR in north Kivu has maintained pressure on the group. We understand that in some areas the FDLR has been forced to withdraw from ground it had held.
The operation extended into south Kivu only recently. It is too early to assess its impact there but we continue to urge the UN peacekeeping mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congolese armed forces to do all it can to protect civilians. While it remains our view that military pressure is necessary to weaken the FDLR, a lasting solution to the problems posed by the militia requires a political settlement.
We have received no specific information concerning the use by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia of civilians as human shields in Shabunda. However, recent reports suggest that Shabunda territory is under the control of the FDLR, who continue to carry out acts of violence against civilians in South Kivu province. The Democratic Republic of Congo army has recently extended its operations against the FDLR into South Kivu, supported by UN peace-keepers. I commend their efforts to restrict the activity of this illegal militia.
The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia has carried out attacks on members of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at various locations in North and South Kivu in recent weeks. These have resulted in casualties among the armed forces, FDLR and the civilian population. The Congolese army (FARDC)’s operation against the FDLR, supported by the UN peacekeeping mission to the DRC (MONUC), is continuing in North and South Kivu provinces. We continue to urge MONUC and the FARDC to do all they can to protect civilians.