Joint patrols between MONUSCO and Congolese security forces have resumed in the city of Goma and its outskirts after being suspended following violent protests in the city of Goma last July.
Planned about ten days ago, in Goma, in the north area up to Munigi (Nyiragongo territory) and in the west up to Sake (Masisi territory), these security operations are led by both FARDC (Congolese army) and the PNC (Congolese National Police) members.
The joint patrols are indeed reassuring for the population in the North Kivu. They have a triple purpose, namely: to secure the city of Goma and its surroundings in the context of the current conflict, to guarantee free movement of civilians and to ensure rapid intervention in the event of an attack. Outside Goma, they also aim to keep armed groups away from the main road sections.
Last week, FARDC patrol commander as well as the heads of sections of the Force headquarters interacted with the local population during the patrol. The objective of these discussions was to sensitize the population in the refugee camps as well as the those in the villages along the RN2 to the importance of their support as well as safety on this road. “MONUSCO is working jointly with FARDC in order to secure this part of the RN2 and thus allow freedom of movement to all, including the Force and the population”, said Major Francis Arseneault, head of one of MONUSCO sections.
“The revived patrols, disrupted since the July 25 and 26 events in Goma, are apparently welcomed by both the urban and rural populations,” said Abdellah Guennouz, chief of the UNPOL sector for MONUSCO/Goma, who recently participated in two patrols a few days ago: one in the city of Goma and the other on the RN2 road leading to Kibumba.
This collaboration is deemed satisfactory by the population. One of the passers-by met in town after the passage of one of the patrols said: “Personally, I am ready to welcome joint patrols between MONUSCO and the Congolese security forces. However, I’m not sure everyone feels the same way in the North Kivu province. Will your patrols secure the town, knowing that the M 23 troops are not far from here? Will you help us keep the M23 out of Goma? “.
The joint patrols are carried out three times a day. This mobile presence includes between six and eight vehicles and about sixty elements during each field trip, including a joint team of the rapid reaction force (QRF: quick reaction force) with a platoon of the South African force or else Nepali from MONUSCO. By rotation with the military, this patrol is also comprised of members of the PNC, MONUSCO police (UNPOL) and SENFPU (Formed Police Unit from Senegal).
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Mission de l’Organisation des Nations unies en République démocratique du Congo (MONUSCO).