At the weekly MONUC press conference in Kinshasa on Wednesday 17 October 2007, MONUC force commander General Babacar Gaye reiterated MONUC's mandate, as the DRC government seeks to establish its authority in troubled North Kivu province.
General Gaye explained that in Masisi territory during the course of an evacuation of FARDC wounded by MONUC during the recent clashes, the local population began throwing stones at the blue helmets.
“This equates to incomprehension of the nature of our action by the local population. I also received a report yesterday that FARDC soldiers arriving into Goma had a less than friendly attitude towards our troops,” the General explained.
He went on to say that MONUC’s mandate was very clear, with the priority of ensuring the security of the local population.
“In North Kivu we have deployed Mobile Operating Bases, we escort the humanitarian convoys, and we are close to the displaced camps. In this regard our action is quiet and permanent.”
In addition, General Gaye said that MONUC’s mandate is to give support to the unfolding political process, and to support the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC).
“We give advice and assistance to the FARDC. MONUC supports the FARDC in North Kivu with air reconnaissance, and air transport for munitions, troops and the evacution of wounded. The towns of Goma and Sake are also protected by MONUC.”
He underlined that it’s the duty of the international community in a crisis situation to recommend a peaceful solution to all parties.
“MONUC is a peacekeeping force and our preferred option is that the combatants enter brassage immediately without conditions in a peaceful manner. If this does not happen, it is clear that there is an elected government, which has a duty to protect the population. It is not the responsibility for anyone other than the legal government of this country.”
General Gaye concluded by saying it is necessary to give a peaceful solution every possible chance to be implemented.
“It is not a weakness by any side to give a chance to a peaceful solution, it’s in the interests of the population who are the priority in this situation. To give a peaceful solution a chance, communication needs to be improved, and it is necessary to multiply the kinds of actions that call people to reason.”