According to the head of UN’s Organization Stabilization Mıssion in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), at least 250 militants have been killed in the Ituri province since mid-May.
An operation launched by Congolese soldiers on Wednesday which killed 34 rebel fighters is part of the UN’s over decade long military initiative in Congo. UN military spokesperson Jean-Marie Joseph Goncalves stated that the operation was done both by air and land and attack helicopters were involved in the operation that neutralised rebel positions, killing 34 militants.
During a recently conducted press conference, MONUSCO chief Martin Kobler said the 250 armed militants that were killed since mid-May were allegedly associated members of the Front for Patriotic Resistance of Ituri (FRPI).
The militant group was established in the Ituri province in 2002. The Ituri province of the DR Congo is located in the country’s northeastern region. The Ituri province is known for its rich natural resources which the FRPI aim to claiming a stake in.
Although, recent negotiations reached an impasse when the UN had appointed two generals that are linked to human rights violations to lead the mission.
Gen. Jean Claude Bongagwela stressed that the possibility of breaking a deal with FRPI if the group’s fighters were to lay down their arms. He also added that the DR Congo’s doors are always open for the FRPI separatists when they participate during the disarmament process which is the key in the negotiations.
However, the operation now underway is targeting the FRPI former leader Germain Katanga, who was convicted last year of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the International Criminal Court.