20 August 2013 During his first visit to the North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a United Nations envoy reiterated the world body’s determination to help restore State authority in the eastern region of the vast country.
“I shall do everything in my power to address the armed groups’ issue in the Kivus and in the rest of the eastern DRC,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in the DRC, Martin Kobler, who just ended a three-day visit to North Kivu, his first since he was appointed in June.
In Goma, Mr. Kobler met with provincial administrative and security authorities, as well as UN military and civilian staff, to assess the situation on the ground.
Upon his arrival, Mr. Kobler met with the Deputy Force Commander of the UN Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), as well as the Mission’s military and civilian officials.
He also met with the provincial Governor and the speaker of the provincial Assembly, with whom he discussed their expectations about the work of MONUSCO and the Force Intervention Brigade in the North-Kivu province.
Over the past year, the M23, along with other armed groups, have clashed repeatedly with the national forces (FARDC) in the eastern DRC. The rebels briefly occupied Goma in November 2012. The fighting resumed in recent weeks, this time dragging in a group of Ugandan-based rebels, and displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating the region’s ongoing humanitarian crisis, which includes 2.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.
During his meetings, Mr. Kobler made clear his determination to see the UN Mission resolve the issue of armed groups, help restore State authority and fulfil its mandate.
Mr. Kobler also met with the UN troops based in Kiwanja and Sake, located 300 kilometres and 30 kilometres from Goma, respectively, and held a town hall meeting with UN staff at MONUSCO headquarters.
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