15 September 2010 The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) today reported that an operation designed to enhance the protection of civilians in the eastern areas of the country has resulted in the arrests of some suspected human rights abusers and a return of many internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their homes.
The UN mission, known as MONUSCO, launched the operation, dubbed Shop Window, two weeks ago as a show of force and to boost protection of residents in towns and villages around Pinga, Kibua and Walikale in North Kivu province, where members of illegal armed groups raped some 240 people between 30 July and 2 August.
The peacekeeping force said that as a result of the operation, there has been a growing recognition by illegal armed groups that UN peacekeepers are well-equipped, willing and able to respond vigorously to attacks on civilians.
Shop Window, MONUSCO’s first unilateral operation, involved the deployment of troops backed by armoured vehicles and helicopters in the affected areas. Despite unfavourable weather, troops from the Indian contingent and battalions from South Africa and Uruguay are continuing patrols in communities.
Several sorties of helicopters overfly the localities day and night to support ground units, MONUSCO said in a press release. In addition, permanent bases have been established to reassure people, who have started to again go about their daily activities.
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