The United Nations peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is taking measures to help the authorities bolster security in the country's troubled eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, a spokesperson for the world body said today.
MONUC said UN peacekeepers, in cooperation with the Congolese Army, have conducted some 600 patrols in the two provinces in recent weeks, including more than half that figure in the course of last week alone as part of efforts to restore security and public safety.
"UN peacekeeping naval units have also stepped up patrols on Lake Kivu to stop illegal traffic of firearms between DRC and neighbouring countries," spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.
The region has been the scene of insecurity caused by armed groups and continuing military operations. On 26 May, a group of 10 to 12 militiamen attacked the villages of Nyabuluze and Muhungu in South Kivu province, killing 18 civilians, among them women and children, and wounding more than two dozen, according to MONUC, which condemned the massacre "strongly and unequivocally."