DRC: Crash of Pakistan Army helicopter during UN Peacekeeping duties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (31.03.2022)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations New York are in constant touch with the UN authorities.

SLAMABAD, Pakistan, March 31, 2022 – A Pakistan Army helicopter deployed on peacekeeping duties with the United Nations Organisation Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) crashed during a reconnaissance operation on 29 March. There were 8 UN peacekeepers including 6 Pakistani troops on board, none of whom survived the unfortunate crash. Exact cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained.

We would like to extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of maintaining international peace and security. 157 of Pakistan’s bravest peacekeepers have already fallen in the line of duty while serving in UN missions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations New York are in constant touch with the UN authorities to facilitate and expedite the early repatriation of the mortal remains, and to ascertain the details and cause of the helicopter crash.

As one of the top troop-contributing countries, Pakistan deeply values the vital role played by the “blue helmets” in maintaining security and stability in many conflict-ridden areas around the world. Pakistan is proud of its long-standing and consistent contributions to UN peacekeeping spanning over six decades. Since 1960, over 200,000 of our servicemen have served with honour and valour in 46 UN Missions in almost all continents of the world. Through their professionalism and dedication, our peacekeepers have always distinguished themselves in every mission they have participated.

RDC: Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) – Protestation (30.03.2022)

RDC: Province du Nord-Kivu – Declaration Politique sur la Situation Securitaire Precaire Prevalant dans la Province du Nord-Kivu (30.03.2022)

DRC: The resurgence of M23 in North Kivu – 13k refugees flee into Uganda

Tuesday- 8 peacekeepers died in a helicopter crash in North Kivu, eastern DRC. The UN MONUSCO says initial findings indicate that the crash was caused by a “luminous object.” The FARDC army and the M23 rebels are blaming each other for the attack on the helicopter” (The Politician Online Magazine East Africa, 30.03.2022).

Over 13,000 Congolese nationals have reportedly fled to Uganda via Kisoro district following resumed fighting between suspected members of the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels and the Congolese government forces in Bwisha chiefdom in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province. According to the residents, heavy fighting erupted in the hills of Runyonyi and Tchanzu in Sabyino mountains of the Virunga ranges, about four kilometres to the Uganda-DR Congo border of Bunagana in Kisoro district around 4 am on Monday morning” (Andre Kapanga, 30.03.2022).

UPDF reportedly captured dozens of M23 rebels who were fighting to capture Bunagana border town of the RD Congo. Reports indicate that Congolese army &police deserted the town & fled into Uganda as fighting intensified. UPDF Spokesperson earlier said UPDF was securing border point” (Entebbe One, 30.03.2022).

Just as the news and reports of the occupation of parts of North Kivu and attacking Bunagana town, which has been the target of Mouvement du 23 mars/ March 23 Movement (M23) of late. As it was reported on the 28th March that the M23 had captured Runyonyi and Chanzu. Therefore, this is the third day of the resurgence of M23. It is

There are claims back-and-fourth of the backing of the M23. While we know that the M23 historically has had ties to both Kampala and Kigali. The M23 fighters in the past was in cantonment camps within Uganda after receiving amnesty after the Nairobi Declaration.

Therefore, when people question the sudden rise and resurgence. That is all to be expected, as the ammunition and training has come from somewhere. These militants cannot just come out of nowhere and have weapons to shoot down even a helicopter. That says something and shows their possible capacity. As they have occupied territories and did it that quickly.

The FARDC is already stretched as is and they have joint operations to defeat the Allied Defence Force (ADF) together with the Ugandan People’s Defence Force (UPDF). While the FARDC also has to contain the CODECO in the Ituri region as well. It is not like the FARDC only has the M23 to worry about. There are several of other militias in Kivu’s too.

The FARDC isn’t alone on fighting M23, but reported that yesterday the UPDF has joined the FARDC in attacking M23 from the Ugandan border and they are participating in skirmishes in Rutshuru. There is also very few reports and saying there is a lack of FARDC soldiers on the ground there.

These are the FDLR (CNRD), Mai-Mai and the NDC- Rénové. Therefore, the various of parts of Kivu has militias already and M23 is just the most flaring up shot. That is creating a crisis and clearly headlines in international press.

M23 is a creation of Kigali and Kampala in the past. We can just wonder who is behind it this time. The M23 is claiming in their recent press release yesterday that the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF) shot down the helicopter. If that is true… than there is even more problems ahead. As there are so many armies, militias and whatnot active there.

The citizens and people of North Kivu is caught into the cross-fire and the ones able is fleeing to Uganda. That is the tragedy here. People are killed, areas being left behind and a continued war in a war-torn region. Where militias are fighting for control and get their slice of the illegal trade of the minerals from this province in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Peace.

RDC: Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) – Communique Officiel (29.03.2022)

DR Congo: UN envoy calls for strategy to address root causes of conflict (30.03.2022)

Civilian losses and displacement of populations have increased because of bloody reprisals by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants.

GENEVA, Switzerland, March 30, 2022 – Amid deteriorating security in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the top UN envoy in the country has called for a comprehensive political strategy that includes measures to address the structural causes of the conflicts.

Bintou Keita, who heads the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), was briefing the Security Council on Tuesday, on recent developments there.

She said that only three months into this year, nearly 2,300 civilian deaths had been recorded in the country’s eastern provinces. “This is proof of the inherent limits of only having security operations to resolve conflicts,” she said.

Armed groups

Ms. Keita said the security situation in the country’s east has deteriorated despite the joint military operations against armed groups by the national security forces, known as the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), which was joined by the Ugandan People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).

She said civilian losses and displacement of populations have increased because of bloody reprisals by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants.

In the past three months, there has been an alarming increase in activities by the M23 rebel movement in North Kivu. On Monday, M23 elements carried out horrific attacks, targeting civilians in communities near Rutshuru.

In North Kivu, the situation has worsened because of the use of improvised explosive devices by the ADF. On 11 March, its leadership renewed its allegiance to Da’esh. MONUSCO has also documented a 10 per cent increase in human rights violations and attacks, since last December.

Helicopter crash: Investigation launched

Earlier on Tuesday, the mission reported that a search and rescue operation was underway, after a Puma helicopter lost contact with MONUSCO and crashed in the restive North Kivu region.

Speaking at the regular noon briefing, UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, said there had been eight people on board, including six crew members – all from the Pakistani military – and two military personnel – one from Russia, and another from Serbia.

They had been on a reconnaissance mission in the area of Tshanzu, south-east of Rutshuru – the scene of recent clashes between Congolese forces and M23.

“An investigation is underway. We will update you as soon as more information becomes available”, Mr. Dujarric said.

“Our thoughts are obviously with the families and friends of those onboard the helicopter, and all of our colleagues of the UN Mission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”

Civilians increasingly vulnerable

Ms. Keita sounded the alarm in the Security Council over the considerable erosion of the protection of sites for displaced persons as well as frequent attacks against medical services and other civilian infrastructure.

In the face of these security changes, MONUSCO has redoubled its efforts to better protect civilians in Ituri, working jointly with FARDC/UPDF, deploying support units for FARDC to increase the deterrent effect against M23 in North Kivu.

The Mission is also pursuing mobile deployments to protect displaced persons in South Kivu, she said.

However, without a combined approach addressing both the causes and the symptoms, the efforts of both the United Nations and Congolese forces will remain insufficient, she emphasized, adding that in Tanganyika province, the Mission is closely monitoring the evolution of the security dynamics ahead of its scheduled withdrawal in June.

RDC: Claudel Andre Lubaya – Resurgence et attaques du M23 (29.03.2022)

RDC: Lucha – En finir avec le M23 une fois pour Toute (29.03.2022)

RDC: Governement Provincial du Nord-Kivu – Communication des Forces Armees de la RDC (29.03.2022)

Rwanda: Western Province – Communique (28.03.2022)

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