On Saturday, 28 February, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrived in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was welcomed at the Kisangani airport by Congolese provincial and national officials in the presence of the senior leadership of the United Nations Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC).
At a meeting with President Joseph Kabila at the Provincial Governor’s office in Kisangani, the Secretary-General noted that an opportunity has emerged in the wake of the recent Democratic Republic of the Congo-Rwanda joint military operation against the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR) to reassert State authority through a more robust presence of Congolese troops backed by United Nations peacekeepers. That opportunity could also improve United Nations humanitarian access to those in need.
Later that day, the Secretary-General, accompanied by his wife, toured a HEALING Africa clinic in Goma for victims of sexual crimes, telling reporters at a subsequent press encounter: “I am so sad and I am angry. Sexual violence is prevalent throughout the DRC and must stop.”
That evening, the Commander of MONUC’s Indian battalion hosted the Secretary-General, his wife and the delegation at a dinner at the Mission’s Goma military headquarters.
The following morning, the Secretary-General visited the Kibati camp for internally displaced people, saying that he saw some signs of hope, with the improved security situation following the joint operations against FDLR providing more space for humanitarian activities.
He and his delegation departed the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the end of that visit to the Kibati camp for Kigali, Rwanda. There, in the course of a two-hour stop, the Secretary-General met with President Paul Kagame and again welcomed the rapprochement between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The Secretary-General also asked that the joint military operation in the eastern Congo not worsen an already difficult humanitarian situation or impede aid workers’ access to people in need of assistance.
After that meeting, the Secretary-General and his delegation proceeded to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.