At its weekly press conference of 12 December 2007, MONUC announced that more than 4,500 blue helmets have been deployed in North Kivu province, to ensure the defence of the towns of Goma and Sake. Furthermore, blue helmets will maintain their presence in Mushake to protect displaced populations in Kilolirwe, Kitchanga and Kanyabayonga.
Since the start of the North Kivu clashes between the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) and Laurent Nkunda’s rebels, MONUC has transported more than 25 tons of various supplies, evacuated 151 wounded FARDC soldiers and conducted 33 air reconnaissance missions (for intelligence or air domination), in support of the FARDC.
MONUC spokeperson Kemal Saïki confirmed that the town of Sake is under the control of MONUC blue helmets, by echoing the declaration of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General Secretary for the DRC, William Swing, following the recapture of Mushake by Nkundist forces.
“We are giving assistance to the chiefs of staff of the FARDC so that they can bring the situation under control, and consolidate their positions in other zones of North-Kivu.”
In accordance with its mandate, MONUC is committed to use all available means, in close cooperation with the FARDC, in order to defend the towns of Sake and Goma to prevent Nkunda’s dissidents from progressing, according to the declaration.
“It is important that the population of North-Kivu keeps calm and does not pay attention to rumour. MONUC and the international community commits themselves to doing everything to assist the Congolese authorities to maintain security, and to provide humanitarian aid to those displaced by Nkunda’s forces, and the confrontations which have resulted,” concluded the declaration from Mr. Swing.
MONUC affirmed that the FARDC are in a favourable position in the north and east of North Kivu province, even if they underwent some reverses in the south in the last 48 hours.