July 18, 2013
Nepali soldiers are currently in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo, MONUSCO. Last Sunday, they saw all too clearly how unstable and dangerous the situation can be.
Following reports of human rights abuses by ADF against civilians in Kamango district near Beni, a UN patrol comprising of Nepali and Jordanian troops was sent to assess the security situation in the area and address concerns related to the protection of civilians.
[The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) is a rebel group opposed to the Ugandan government, based in western Uganda with rear bases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This month the ADF renewed its fighting in the Congolese district of Beni. According to the UN Radio Okapi, the ADF fought a pitched battle with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARD), briefly taking the towns of Mamundioma and Totolito. On July 11 the ADF attacked the town of Kamango, triggering the flight of over 60,000 refugees across the border into the Uganda.]
The Nepali-Jordanian patrol was sent out in response to the July 11 attack on citizens and was ambushed on route to Kamango, where it came under heavy fire from ADF elements. While MONUSCO troops successfully repelled the assault, two UN vehicles were damaged and three Nepalis were injured.
After receiving air support from two attack helicopters dispatched from Goma to Beni, the peacekeepers successfully carried out a counter ambush in which 10 ADF rebels were killed.
According to a statement issued by Nepal Army headquarters, the injured Nepalis were admitted to a hospital but are now out of danger.
A photograph of the air support was posted on MONUSCO’s facebook page, followed by the Nepali comments:
In response to Sunday’s clash, acting Special Representative of the Secretary General in the DRC, Moustapha Soumaré said, “MONUSCO will fulfill its mandate given by the UN Security Council to protect civilians”. On Monday, another patrol went to Kamango in order to pursue the objectives of the original patrol.
The fighting in the area has intensified since then.
Yesterday, July 17, after the DC Congo government reported 120 troops dead, at least
51 rebels were killed in response.
Some 800,000 people in DR Congo have fled fighting since rebels launched the rebellion last year.