UN Chief Vows Continued Support For DR Congo Army
Umer Jamshaid 2 months ago Sun 01st September 2019 | 08:50 PM
Beni, DR Congo, Sept 1 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 1st Sep, 2019 ) :UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday vowed continued support for the Democratic Republic of Congo, grappling with the double scourge of militia violence and an Ebola epidemic.
Visiting Beni in the country's east, the secretary general said the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO, the Congolese army and national police "will continue to work together to return peace and security to the region.
"In improving this MONUSCO action I am counting on the UN Security Council to be able to renew the mandate with the necessary adjustments," said Guterres after visiting an Ebola treatment centre at Mangina, near Beni.
The UN's DR Congo mandate, which began 20 years ago and has cost the lives of 27 blue helmet troops, is one of its biggest peacekeeping missions with about 16,000 troops and an annual budget of over $1 billion.
"Of course it is a decision of the Security Council -- but it is my view that MONUSCO has a very important role to play in DRC," Guterres told reporters.
- Strategic revision - Although the UN has closed some bases and cut civilian staff, Guterres said a "strategic revision" was under way in order to make it "more useful still to the Congolese people" in terms of security but also politically.
He added: "The best response to terrorism and violence is development." Guterres will discuss the ongoing insecurity and the future of the UN in the DR Congo with President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa on Monday.
Containment efforts have been hindered by the conflict in the country's east, as well as attacks on health workers tackling Ebola in a population where mistrust of outsiders and superstition is rife.
Seven health workers have been killed and more than 50 seriously hurt, according to an unofficial tally of attacks.
"It is worth coming. There are people who might think: 'Well, I'm going to die, why should I go? No, it's not true. Those who come here can be cured. We must transmit this message to everybody. Don't hide your symptoms. Come," he said after meeting Ebola survivors.
Nurse Darlen was among hundreds of inhabitants, including many children, who swarmed the impressive UN convoy.
She thanked Guterres for having the "courage to come to our home, where there is an epidemic and insecurity.
"We are pleased with his presence. It is a comforting visit that gives us even more courage and hope, which motivates us. We have been in this epidemic for a year," she said.